By LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Dan Gill, Kyle Huffstickler and Allen Owings
Many great plants perform well in summer and fall in Louisiana.
Some of these are tropical-like in appearance, including esperanzas, Pride of Barbados and cassava.
All of these are low-maintenance in the landscape.
Esperanzas, also known by their scientific name of Tecoma, come with yellow flowers and orange flowers. Esperanzas have been promoted as Texas Superstar plants. Bloom time is midsummer until first killing frost.
The plant has a woody growth habit and is slightly taller than wide. Heights of 5-6 feet are common with widths of 4 feet.
Mulch them well going into winter.
They normally will return in following years in south Louisiana and portions of central Louisiana.
Pride of Barbados is a great, small-growing, tropical tree. You see more of these planted in Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, than you do in south Louisiana, but we should use these plants more often.
Whenever garden centers have them in stock, they sell very quickly. The scientific name of this plant is Caesalpinia.
Pride of Barbados plants usually are 5-8 feet tall by fall and start producing orangish-red flowers in midsummer. Stems are spiny, and foliage is fern-like. Because this plant is in the legume family, it sets seed pods similar to those on beans.
Pride of Barbados is perennial in south Louisiana but will be an annual in north Louisiana.
Cassava is a tropical, shrubby perennial that also goes by the scientific name of Manihot.
The variegated form is the one you generally see in landscapes.
They are not widely available at garden centers. But, once again, garden centers sell out quickly when they have cassavas in stock.
Each of these is a great landscape plant for Louisiana. They most often are available at garden centers in summer and will do great in summer through fall if you plant them promptly. Give them a try.
Visit LaHouse in Baton Rouge to see sustainable landscape practices in action.
The home and landscape resource center is near the intersection of Burbank Drive and Nicholson Drive (Louisiana Highway 30) in Baton Rouge, across the street from the LSU baseball stadium. For more information, go to www.lsuagcenter.com/lahouse or www.lsuagcenter.com/lyn.