Saturday, October 6, 2007

Plant Combinations

It might be hard to see, but this plant combination contains Eupatorium rugosa 'Chocolate' (the white flowered plant on the left), and Chrysanthemum morifolium, aka mums. The white with the dark red makes a stunning combination and I might think of adding Perovskia atriplicifolia, aka Russian Sage, to the duo next year in order to make a red, white and blue combination.

Eupatoriums are extremely easy to grow and one of my favorite groups of plants. They belong to the family Asteraceae, aka Asters, which are usually in bloom this time of year. This family is responsible for most of the fall coloring on the side of roads this year. Colors range from purple to lavender to white and so on. When this Chocolate eupatorium begins growing in the spring the foliage is purple. Visitors to my garden often mistake it as the wild basil, Perilla frutescens. Wild basil is one plant I will NEVER plant in my garden as wild basil is wildly invasive and very hard to get rid of once established. I have only met gardeners who have regretted planting it. I once was the recipient of this wild basil back in the 80s when my aunt kindly gave it to me. What a mistake! Beware of kind gardeners who give you plants and always know what you are planting BEFORE planting it.

The second picture is also of Chocolate Eupatorium and a wonderful rose, 'The Fairy'. The Fairy is a low grower which blooms all season with a multitude of small pink flowers. This rose requires no spraying or special care in my garden. It will grow to about 3-4 feet by 3-4 feet, which is about the size the Chocolate eupatorium will grow to as well. All of these plants grow in part sun. The Chocolate eupatorium will self seed, but in my garden the seedlings are no problem and easy to pull if I do not want them (never happened as I always want them). I take cuttings of garden mums each summer and grow my own mums. Mums usually come back each year in Tennessee but be sure to plant your mums out by mid-October to allow for them to establish their root systems prior to the really cold weather. It also helps if mums are planted in good well drained soil. I have lost a few over the years.

Garden season is not over so continue to think about what plants you might like around you. It is easy to garden year round here in Tennessee and the stores make it simple by providing in season flowers-just pick and plant-but research first or at least have a general understanding of the plant.

Tonight is the next to the last "Jazz on the Lawn" at Beachaven Winery. Be sure to partake of the wonderful weather and come out tonight and enjoy life.
in the garden....


  1. Does the Chocolate plant have a smell of chocolate? Why is it called a chocolate plant? Sounds interesting and I may have to get one from you some day. I love things that are carefree and reseed themselves and have color throughout the season.

    While in Virginia this past weekend, we drove up into the Shenandoah Mountains and I was in awe with the purple Aster or September flower growing wild along the roadside! I snapped a few pictures of it and will pass them along to you Tina. I thought of you while observing all the Golden rod and color in the trees as well. Not as much color as I would have liked to see but some beautiful reds and yellow where popping their heads at the highest peak...

  2. No, the Chocolate Eupartoriums do not smell like chocolate. I think that it was just a catchy name and may have something to do with the coloring. I will for sure save you some seedlings and may have one now I can pot up for you. I will look. Always happy to share. You will love it since you like fall color so much. Me too.