In keeping with my native plants manifesto which you can read about here, I’m celebrating Texas Native Plant Week by profiling some of the native plants in my own gardens. The information reflects what I’ve learned from the transformation of my traditional maintenance-heavy “yard” to a no-lawn, water-wise garden, featuring beautiful Texas native plants– which were the drivers and are the stars of that metamorphosis.
I grow lots of Rock Rose, Pavonia lasiopetala, in my gardens.
I say “grow”–Rock Rose grows itself and mostly, I let it.This small “evergreen” perennial blooms late spring, throughout summer, and into fall and is a Texas tough plant. Rock Rose flourishes in a variety of light situations, from shade, to dappled shade,
to full sun, though it blossoms more in full sun.
The pretty-in-pink flowers open early in the mornings and close for business by 3 or 4pm during the heat of summer. The closing of those blooms is the plant’s response to heat and is a natural conservation measure.
As cooler autumn months arrive, the blossoms will stay open until sundown.
Rock Rose will seed out–really seed out, so if you don’t like that, it may not be the plant for you. I simply yank up the seedlings I don’t want and give them away, compost them, or transplant them.
Rock Rose is one of those plants that I pop in difficult situations where I’m having problems figuring out what would work; it’s a staple plant in my gardens–good in so many situations.
Rock Rose flowers on new wood, so after bloom cycles (which start in May) you can “deadhead” or prune the stems (6-8 inches) and the plant will flush out with new growth to start the next bloom cycle. If you object to pruning, you can let Rock Rose continue to grow and it will bloom, but slightly less because it’s placing its energy toward seed production. If left unpruned, the branches arch over, heavy with seeds and blooms. Rock Rose is evergreen, though not a lush evergreen–green leaves remain on the shrub during winter; the plant is more woody than green.
When I prune my Rock Rose plants, I tidy and shape them a bit,
…but Rock Rose is loveliest in its casual form, meaning that this is a perennial you don’t want to shape too much–let Rock Rose, be Rock Rose.
Rock Rose attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds but isn’t a specific host plant to any particular critter. It is moderately deer resistant and very drought resistant. Native to Central to South Texas, I wouldn’t guarantee winter hardiness in the northern parts of Texas. It probably acts as an annual.
Don’t worry if it croaks during the winter though, I’m sure it will seed out.