August 10, 2013 6:35:22 PM
If you're the kind of gardener who likes to plan now for what to plant next year, here's another plant to add to your list: Golden Thryallis.
This plant starts flowering in early June and continues through fall if higher temperatures linger. It has stand-out yellow flowers that really draw attention in the landscape. The bright and cheery flowers appear in clusters that are up to 6 inches long.
If you're like me, you'll enjoy Golden Thryallis for more than its flowers. Even the branches are attractive.
Young branches are a rusty reddish brown that provides a nice background for the flowers. The slender branches form a dense interior network, while the outer branches appear loose and open, displaying the flowers.
The plant has light-green leaves that are oblong and about 1 to 2 inches long. Golden Thryallis is evergreen, but when the weather gets cooler, the foliage can take on an interesting bronzy tint.
Plant Golden Thryallis in full sun for best flowering performance. This placement also helps keep a good overall structure and appearance. The plant tolerates partial shade, but when growing in these conditions, it becomes a bit stretched out and scraggly.
The overall size of Golden Thryallis can vary quite a bit. In its native tropical habitat, this plant can reach up to 10 feet tall. In our Mississippi landscapes, where the plant is exposed to regular low winter temperatures, expect to enjoy a plant that is 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
Golden Thryallis tolerates pruning, so don't be afraid to shape and maintain the size of the plant. With proper trimming, you can even maintain Golden Thryallis as a unique hedge.
Golden Thryallis is native to Mexico and Central America. It is evergreen in U.S. hardiness zones 9B to 11, but this plant may surprise you with its cold hardiness. In coastal Mississippi, temperatures in the mid to low 20s will most likely kill the plant back to the ground.
Cold weather care
In north Mississippi, prune the plant to the ground after the first frost and cover it with a heavy layer of pine straw mulch. When I heavy mulch, I mean you can even place a whole bale on top of the plant for winter protection.
If this precaution sounds like too much effort, plant your Golden Thryallis in containers and bring the plants inside to sunny windows when cold weather is forecast. Golden Thryallis will continue to bloom inside, bringing cheery yellow flowers to the winter scenery.
A plant that requires this much care in the winter may sound high maintenance, but Golden Thryallis actually doesn't require much care or preparation. Plant it in well-drained soil amended with some good compost. Feed with one-fourth cup of slow-release fertilizer per plant in the spring.
Golden Thryallis is a great choice for low-water-use gardens, as it tolerates dry spells quite well. Even drought-tolerant plants need a bit of supplemental water during the dog days of summer, so give Golden Thryallis a little extra moisture when the ground gets dry.
This plant is a great addition to a flowering perennial border, where it will act as a natural background for other plants. Try a mass of Golden Thryallis as a substitute for junipers or hollies in a large-scale ground cover, and I think you will find it looks outstanding.
So as you plan your garden and landscape for next summer, consider Golden Thryallis as a new addition. Its beautiful flowers, interesting branches and strong performance will make you dream of all the ways it can enhance your landscape.