‘Magnus’ purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea “Magnus’) ‘Magnus’ has become a much-loved staple in gardens. It has strong 2.5- to 3-foot-tall stems to hold up deep purple-pink flowers and does not need to be staked. The center cones are orange, turning brown when mature. The flowers are often used in fresh and dried arrangements, and small birds love the seeds inside. Butterflies rush to the blossoms for nectar. Purple coneflower looks lovely combined with Russian sage and blazing star. Grow it in full sun and well-drained soil. Zones 3-8 See more about ‘Magnus’ purple coneflower.
Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) “One of the best small specimen trees that I know,” says Michael Dirr, author, educator, and guru of woody plants. That is high praise, and it’s true that few small trees can rival this Persian beauty, which grows 20-40 feet tall. It flowers very early in spring, before the foliage unfurls, with red-and-white blooms. The flowers aren’t large, but they’re quite pretty upon inspection. The new foliage is reddish purple, changing to glossy green for the summer, and ending the season in a combination of yellow, orange, and scarlet. Interesting bark adds to the winter landscape. Grow the tree in full sun or part shade. Zones 5-8
Diabolo ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’) This selection of native ninebark has deep purple, nearly black foliage, making it a showstopper in the landscape. In late spring, little bunches of pinkish-white flowers bloom all the way down the arching branches and really stand out against the dark foliage. The flowers give way to small purple fruits. The foliage may become a touch greener in warm climates. The shrub grows 4-8 feet tall and tolerates a range of soil conditions. In Oklahoma, it’s happy for some shade from the hot afternoon sun. Unique bark adds interest to the winter garden. Zones 2-7 Learn more about ninebarks.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) It’s so exciting to have plants that bloom in the winter. It’s like getting a bonus! Winter jasmine blooms with bright yellow flowers in late winter before the leaves unfurl. It can be grown as a climber on a trellis, where it will reach 12-15 feet tall. Or it can be left to become a groundcover that will reach about 4 feet tall. Winter jasmine also looks pretty falling over a wall. Plant it on the south side of the house, where it will get good winter light and produce the most flowers. It’s best grown in well-drained, sandy loams with regular moisture. Zones 6-10 See more about winter jasmine.
Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii) Korean spice viburnum is an easy-to-grow shrub with three-season appeal. In late spring, clusters of pink buds open into white flowers with a pink blush. The flowers are beautiful, but the spicy fragrance will knock you off your feet. The dark green foliage always looks neat and tidy on this 4- to 5-foot-tall shrub. In late summer, red berries turn to black and stand out nicely against the wine-red fall color. It prefers moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Zones 5-7 See more about Korean spice viburnum.
Each spring, the Oklahoma Proven Selections program announces four additions to its plant selections: one tree, one shrub, one perennial, and one annual. These Proven Selections have been tested across the state for their ability to thrive in Oklahoma gardens and landscapes. To earn the designation, plants must show good pest and disease resistance, provide more than one season of interest, and require a low level of maintenance.
Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) This 6- to 10-foot-tall native shrub has something for everyone. Clusters of white to light pink flowers bloom in spring, providing nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. Clusters of glossy red fruit replace the blossoms in autumn. The fruit persists into winter, extending the season of interest because birds don’t like them until they’ve frozen a few times. Bright red fall color makes red chokeberry a terrific alterative to the non-native burning bush. Chokeberry prefers average soil in full sun or part shade. Zones 4-9
Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) This tall, majestic tree has some very unusual traits. It looks like an evergreen tree with feathery green needles, but around Thanksgiving the needles turn coppery-orange and fall to the ground. You may come across this tree in a swamp, standing in water with roots called knees, which grow above the surface for air. This regal-looking tree will reach a grand height of 50-70 feet tall and grow about half as wide. Bald cypress likes acidic soil and full sun. Zones 4-11 See more about bald cypress.
Japanese painted fern (Athyrium nipponicum pictum) This fern was chosen as the Perennial Plant of the Year in 2004. It has incredible metallic silver-gray foliage colored with hints of red and blue. It provides charming contrast to more subtle shade plants. Japanese painted fern grow 12-18 inches tall and is extremely low-maintenance. It combines well with hosta, foamflower, sedge, and astilbe. The pretty fronds are lovely in flower arrangements. The fern prefers part to full shade and moist, humus-rich soil. Zones 4-8 Learn more about Japanese painted fern.
These plants earn their places in thriving Oklahoma gardens and landscapes. They've been tested and approved by local horticultural experts.
Iris ‘Oklahoma Centennial’ I know it’s purple.
Thanks Dee, I was trawling back through your posts looking for some ideas for a full sun bed between the house and garage that faces south. Bingo, you have given me some great ideas here with what I had already.
Penstemon X which is actually, P calycosus. It can tolerate wet feet and dry shade. I grow Fairy Baby
Jennie Brooks says
Cosmos are extremely easy and reseed. i love them bc they’re tall and sway nicely in the wind. i collected many, many seeds at the end of last season to give to friends and my aunt and cousins are now growing them in Texas. i haven’t gotten around to planting my zinnias either. oh and i planted blue and white salvia last year bc the nursery folks said they would come back but only one did. probably due to our hard, cold winter. and i’m planting black eyes susans from seeds a friend harvested in KC. i love the idea of seeds going from state to state. thanks for your top ten, Dee.
Persian Carpet zinnias are an easy flower to grow.
‘Alaska’ shasta daisies
Gerry McCormick says
those little zinnias are darling…
Ten easy flowers to grow in Oklahoma.