Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

PLANT OF THE WEEK: Burning Bush

by Julie McIntyre Summerland Gardens - Published: August 25, 2013

Common Name: Burning bush, dwarf winged burning bush

Scientific name: Euonymous alatus 'Compactus'

Type: Shrub

Height: 5-8 feet

Width: 4-6 feet

Blooms: Spring, small yellowish-green flowers are insignificant

Where to plant: Full sun to partial shade

Water requirement: Moderate, fairly drought tolerant once established

Preparing the soil: Average soil

Hardy: Zone 3 (up to 7500 feet)

As its name suggests, this shrub's leaves turn an intense, flame red color in the fall, bringing a strong color accent to the late season garden. Spring through summer, it is a rounded, bushy shrub with dense, dark green leaves. Corky ridges form along the stems, which make them look square, or winged, providing additional interest in the winter. Adaptable to a range of soil and light conditions, including partial shade. Once established, can tolerate moderate drought. Can be used as a single specimen plant or mass planted as a grove to achieve a natural privacy screen. Deer resistant.

Julie McIntyre, Summerland Gardens

Common Name: Rose mallow, hardy hibiscus

Scientific name: Hibiscus moscheutos hybrids

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Height: 3-4 feet

Width: 3-4 feet

Blooms: Summer to fall

Where to plant: Full sun

Water requirement: Average, tolerates wet conditions

Preparing the soil: Best in rich soils, but adapts to average soils if watered

Hardy: Zones 4 (up to 7000')

This perennial hibiscus is one to grow just for the spectacular, dinner-plate-sized flowers it produces, as much as 8 inches across. These are among the largest flowers produced by any hardy perennial in Colorado Springs and well worth the little extra water they might require. Similar in appearance to the tropical hibiscus, this one survives our winters and is also related to hollyhocks, prairie winecups and rose of Sharon. However, rose mallows do not produce woody stems, but die to the ground every winter to wake up late in the spring and grow up to 4 feet in a season. This shrubby, rounded plant is easy to grow in average, medium or wet soils in full sun. While it performs best in moist, organically rich soils, it does surprisingly well in average garden soils as long as it doesn't dry out. Regular deep watering is advisable. Tolerates some light shade, but full sun produces the best flowers and strongest stems. Flowers last one to two days, but continue to be produced from late July through September. Showy pinkish hybrids available include "Summer Storm" and "Cranberry Crush." Attractive to butterflies, resistant to deer.

Julie McIntyre, Summerland Gardens

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