Thursday, July 17, 2014

My favorite plant this week: Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star'

My favorite plant this week is a relatively demure variegated plant I've featured in a number of Foliage Follow-up posts, including the most recent one.  It's saddled with a convoluted name that can be both difficult to spell and remember: Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star.'  There's minimal information available about it on-line so most of what I know about this plant comes from personal experience, although I did find a brief mention of the genus in an old edition of "The Wise Garden Encyclopedia," which describes it simply as a "genus of shrubby tropical plants belonging to the Acanthaceae (Acanthus) Family."

Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star' situated below Calliandra haematocephala



New growth is green with irregular cream-colored variegation.  As the leaves age, they turn a reddish burgundy with pink variegation.  The narrow leaves grow to between 2 and 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length.  Left to their own devices, mine have grown into narrow plants about 2 feet (61 cm) tall, taking on a vase-like shape and becoming bare at the base.  My most recent acquisition, found in a 1-gallon pot and mislabeled as Strobilanthes 'Purpurea,' is shorter and wider, about 1 foot (31 cm) tall and wide, which suggests that pinching and pruning would be useful in creating a denser plant.  Still, my older, unpruned plants have knitted in well with the surrounding foliage.

P. 'Texas Tri-star' poking up through the leaves of Arthropodium cirratum

This P. Texas Tri-star' is mingling with Plectranthus ciliatus



The plants I've shown here all grow in a bed that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.  The plants receive regular water on a drip irrigation system.  I've tried P. 'Texas Tri-star' in beds getting morning shade and afternoon sun but they were stressed and didn't hold up well in the summer heat even when they received extra water.  Those that survived were moved to the more hospitable bed outside our living room.

The plants remain evergreen in my USDA zone 10b garden.  They didn't show any sign of die-back during our cooler months but then our winter temperatures haven't dipped below 35F (1.67C) during the 3 years we've lived here.  The plants recently surprised me by producing a few lavender-pink flowers, which may be a response to the bout of humid air we've recently experienced.




The plant isn't particularly easy to find.  They pop up in 4-inch pots here occasionally.  In researching the plant on-line, I discovered that it has some interesting relatives, including a dark-leaved variety called 'Black Varnish,' which I'm now on a search to find locally.

Pseuderanthemum 'Texas Tri-star' is my contribution to Loree's favorite plant meme at danger garden.  Visit her blog to see her current favorite and to find links to other gardeners' selections.


10 comments:

  1. I actually thought your Pseuderanthemum was a Leucothoe - they appear to be very similar in looks, until the flower that is.
    Without flowers it makes a lovely statement and it really stands out against all the green in the first shot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd entirely forgotten that it flowers - it happens so rarely. As the genus has tropical origins, I expect it likes the high humidity we're currently experiencing.

      Delete
  2. I find it both frustrating and a little exciting when I try to research a "fav" only to discover there is very little information about it on the internet. It's fun to think "I'm one of the few to have this plant!" but then I start to wonder why? Anyway this one looks like a keeper!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What was really funny is that, when I Googled it, one of my own posts appeared as the first item on the list of links. As I ran through the other links, I discovered more links back to my own posts. One might think I was an expert on the plant!

      Delete
  3. A new one to me. What lovely foliage. It's no use coveting it though. I' ll just have to enjoy yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm afraid it probably can't handle cold winters. It weathers our winters just fine - I had it growing in my former garden too - but we haven't hit freezing, even briefly, in years.

      Delete
  4. I love almost every variegated plant I see, and yours is no exception. I have never seen it here. Thanks for the introduction!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't recall how cold your get in winter, Deb, but there's a good chance it'd do well for you.

      Delete
  5. That's a beauty and one I haven't heard of before. TFS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your're welcome, Deanne. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete

I enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions. However, with apologies to bona-fide commentators, due to a significant increase in spam, I've eliminated the option to post comments anonymously.