Selections for 2017
Oklahoma Proven is a plant promotion program coordinated by faculty in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Oklahoma State University. The goal of the program is to recommend plants well-adapted for use across Oklahoma.
Collector's Choice for 2017
Jujube or Chinese Date
Jujube, also known as Chinese date is an excellent small to medium sized tree with shiny green foliage in summer and yellow leaves in fall. The naturally drooping tree is graceful, ornamental and often thorny with branches growing in a zig-zag pattern. Jujube can grow to about 15 to 30 feet high. It makes a great landscape tree with the added benefit of edible fruits. Commonly grown cultivars include ‘Li’ and ‘Lang’. Fruit are round to elongate and mature from green to red, when they have a sweet, crisp flesh somewhat similar to an apple. After maturing to red/reddish brown, the fruits wrinkle and take on the appearance of a date.
- Exposure: Full sun to part shade
- Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained, acid soil, but is adaptable
- Hardiness: USDA Zone 4-9
Tree for 2017
Chionanthus virginicus is a deciduous, native shrub or small tree with a spreading, rounded habit that typically grows 12-20 feet tall and most often occurs in rich, moist woods and hillsides and moist stream banks. The common name fringetree refers to the slightly fragrant, spring flowers which feature airy, terminal, drooping clusters of fringe-like, creamy white petals. Fringetrees are dioecious (separate male and female plants), but also may have perfect flowers on each plant. Male flowers are showier than female flowers. Plants with perfect or female flowers may give way to clusters of olive-like fruits which ripen to a dark, bluish black in late summer and are a food source for birds and wildlife. Cultivars from the Chinese cousin is also available.
- Exposure: Full sun or light shade
- Soil: Tolerates wide variety of soils
- Hardiness: USDA Zone 5-8
Shrub for 2017
Dwarf palmetto favors the wet alluvial soil in swamps and river bottoms in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and North Carolina and is the only member of the palm family native to Oklahoma. This very slow growing, ground-hugging rugged fan palm produces pale green or bluish fan-like, evergreen leaves atop spineless stems arising from a crown of underground roots reaching 4 to 6 feet high or more. Flowers are yellowish-white in late spring followed by edible black, BB-sized fruits that taste like dates.
Dwarf palmetto provides interest and variety to a damp, shaded place. Although this plant grows native in areas of high to moderate moisture, once established it is fairly drought tolerant. It is the most cold-tolerant Sabal. In the landscape it works well as a specimen plant, in mass plantings, or in containers.
- Exposure: Sun, part shade (best in part shade)
- Soil: Organically rich, moderately fertile, moist
- Hardiness: USDA Zone 7-10.
Perennial for 2017
Asclepias species are the milkweeds. Native to America they are well adapted to many soil types. Best known as the host plant for monarch butterflies, the milkweeds have gained a lot of attention lately and efforts across the country to reestablish lost habitat to help save the declining monarch population is taking the front stage for gardeners, butterfly enthusiasts, and conservationists. Butterfly milkweed, Asclepias tuberosa, is the most popular of Asclepias species with bright orange to yellow-orange flowers on upright stems growing 1 to 3 feet tall. In fact, butterfly milkweed has been named the Perennial of the Year in 2017 by the Perennial Plant Association. Milkweeds in general grow in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun and are very drought tolerant and have no serious pest problems. Grow in native plant gardens, wild gardens, meadows, naturalized areas, perennial borders, and cottage style gardens.
- Exposure: Sun, part shade
- Soil: Tolerates about any soil
- Hardiness: USDA Zone 4-10
Annual for 2017
Firecracker flower, is native to India and Sri Lanka where it is a tropical evergreen subshrub that grows 1-3 feet tall. Flowers are apricot to salmon pink in color and form in terminal racemes. Yellow and red flowered forms are also available. Plants bloom throughout the summer and attract pollinators. Leaves of firecracker flower are shiny dark green. ‘Orange Marmalade’ has long lasting blooms on a plant that thrives with heat and humidity. Large clusters of frilly, bright orange flowers shine against the glossy green foliage.
Firecracker flower prefers light, organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun or part shade, but will tolerate bright full shade. Plants thrive in warm, humid weather and have no serious insect or disease problems. Firecracker flower is beautiful in beds, borders, containers or as a houseplant.
- Exposure: Full sun to part shade
- Soil: Moist, well-drained soil
- Hardiness: Use as an annual