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Dreaming of spring already? These plants will put some color back in your yard.

Photo by Johnny Barlow

Most Golden Triangle homeowners are going to have a few empty spots in their landscapes this spring due to the recent freezes, so I would like to recommend you try some of the following as replacements. I have had great success with all of them.

Mexican Bush Sage ‘Santa Barbara’ is a winner. It is a hardy small shrub about three feet high, up to four feet wide. It will come back in spring, even if damaged by cold. It blooms from early fall until frost, with dark blue to purplish spikes that have a velvety look. Butterflies and humming birds love it. Be sure it is in a well drained bed and you will love it as well.

Pride of Barbados is a multi-trunked loose shrub to small tree that in summer sports incredible blooms of orange-red, tinged with gold, each flower with six-inch long red stamens. Its foliage is fern-like, and the trunks and larger limbs have short, sharp spines. Named a Texas Superstar Plant by Texas A&M, it too attracts hummers and butterflies. Again, well drained soil is required.

Bottle Brush is one of my favorites if you have the right place for it. It is a fast-growing evergreen shrub or small tree, depending on how you prune, if any. It takes frosts and freezes very well. It can be used as a screening plant or as a focal point standing alone. From spring to fall, it continuously bears heavy loads of brilliant red blooms shaped like a bottle brush, hence the name. It attracts not only humming birds and butterflies, but mine were a spring stop-over spot for orioles, buntings, grosbeaks, finches, and other migrating birds. Some foraged the blooms for the tiny seeds. This plant will tolerate moist soils.

If you try one or more of these beautiful plants this year, I am sure you will be happy with your decision. All of them will add to your enjoyment of your outdoor living.