The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 27, 2013

Oklahoma Provens are quality

By Deloris Castor
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — By Deloris Castor

Oklahoma Proven is a plant promotion program coordinated by faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Oklahoma State University.

The goal  is to recommend plants adapted for use across Oklahoma. The 2013 Oklahoma Proven selections are:

• Tree — winterberry euonymus. It is a large shrub to small tree with pendulous branches and light green foliage, yellowish-green flowers, pinkish capsule fruits that split open at maturity revealing an orange aril (fleshy seed covering). Bark is green, rough textured and attractive.

Winterberry grows 15 to 24 feet high and almost as wide. It is adaptable, quite drought tolerant and mostly resistant to scale that are common on other euonymus species. It can handle full sun to part shade and tolerates wide range of soil. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4-7.

• Shrub — chaste tree or vitex. It is a multi-stemmed large shrub that can be trained into a small tree. It has dark green leaves with fragrant flowers appearing in early summer that continue to bloom sporadically through summer and fall. Heat, drought and pest tolerant, it is an excellent choice for a xeric garden and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. It can handle sun to part shade, and likes moist, well-drained soil. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9.

• Perennial — Walker’s Low catmint. This pest-free hybrid develops into a mound of aromatic grayish green foliage. Lavender-blue flowers appear in spring and continue to bloom if pruned after initial flowering. It grows 1-2 feet high and up to 3 feet wide, and can be used as edging, borders, herb or rock garden and ground cover. Walker’s attracts bees and butterflies. It tolerates some shade, dry, rocky soil and is quite drought and deer resistant. It favors sun to part shade, and likes moist, well-drained soil. It is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.

• Annual — Dakota Gold helenium. Common names for helenium include sneezeweed and bitterweed. It is a native of Texas, is tough and tolerates heat and dry conditions. Dakota Gold grows as 6- to 8-inch mounded cushions of fine, dark foliage covered with golden yellow flowers all summer long and looks great in beds, containers, rock gardens, borders and as an accent. It tolerates full sun and any well-drained soil.

• Collector’s Choice — specialty fruit collection. Many of the fruits we enjoy so much don’t fit well in today’s urban landscapes, especially standard fruit trees. However, today’s breeding and production techniques bring us dwarf and miniature versions that fit in just about any space.

Columnar apples, patio peaches, dwarf pomegranates and compact blueberries now make it easy to enjoy fresh fruit right out our backdoors, and they are ornamental, too. These specialty fruits require full sun to part shade with moist, well-drained soil. Blueberries require acidic soil (pH5). Their hardiness varies by species in USDA Zones 3-11.

Test sites across the state judged the Oklahoma Proven plants based on insect and disease resistance and ability to survive Oklahoma’s varied and difficult environmental conditions. In addition, the plants must not have the potential to become a weed, but remember all plants need attention during the establishment phase or during periods of extremes.

Castor is a member of Garfield County Master Gardeners.