Dr. Seuss Garden Plants
Dr. Seuss Plants for Your Garden
The wide world of plants has SO much to offer! Beauty, grace, shade, color, texture, flavor, scent, whimsy, playfulness and miles of smiles...
If the last few qualities seem unusual to find in your landscape, consider including some plants that would be at home on the pages of a Dr. Seuss book!
Dr. Seuss has enchanted millions of children with his imaginative stories and illustrations. The landscapes of Dr. Seuss are filled with color, strong and simple shapes as well as fantastical details. Let's take a look at some real life plants that would fit right in on the pages of his books and add whimsy and flair to your garden!
For those who love the elegant form of sprekelia - my apologies for the funny face! While I find sprekelia blooms very graceful, I always see a quizzical face with wild eyebrows! :) Take a look at this illustration to see what I mean:
Wouldn't this fellow find a home in any Dr. Seuss book? Sprekelia is a handsome member of the amaryllis family, native to Mexico and South America. Extravagant red blooms are very long-lasting, and are highlighted by long, curling yellow stamens rich in pollen to attract butterflies. Naturally deer resistant, and drought tolerant, sprekelia thrive in containers as well as the garden bed. Hardy to zones 9-11, sprekelia can easily be over wintered in colder climates, to return in the spring to bring smiles to your garden!
Scadoxus Multiflorus syn. Haemanthus
Scadoxus Multiflorus, or Haemanthus, produce huge globes of scarlet tepals tipped in gold. Their spiky appearance has led to common names of pincushion flower and blood lily, but the blooms are actually quite soft and pettable, like Dr. Seuss's truffula trees. Scadoxus flowers are extremely long-lasting, producing 2 months of colorful spheres to liven up your summer garden. Happy in containers or in the ground, haemanthus bulbs are naturally deer resistant, and drought tolerant once established. Highly attractive to butterflies, and a fun cut flower, either fresh or dried! Hardy zones 8-11, scadoxus is easily stored over the winter to be replanted every spring. Charm the butterflies and whimsy fanciers who visit your garden!
The extraordinary gloriosa is often called a flame lily - for obvious reasons! See how the petals ripple? Together with the shape and the coloring, it makes each petal look like a tongue of fire! The red and yellow gloriosa rothschildiana (doesn't that name seem Seussian?) is the most familiar, but gloriosas also bloom in solid yellow, and in burgundy.
Gloriosa climbing lilies are easy to grow in the spring, for spectacular blooms all summer! Light weight stems will climb any light support, with the leaves wrapping like tendrils to support the plant. I have grown gloriosas over other shrubs, where their light weight is no trouble to the supportive plant. With such slender stems and minimal leaves, the gloriosa disappears against the other plant until it blooms. A boring boxwood covered with flaming flowers is a sight to see! Another fun approach is to grow them in hanging baskets. Twine the tendrils around some large pieces of bark mulch to keep them hanging down for a spectacular effect!
Gloriosa lilies are hardy zones 9-11, and can be over-wintered indoors in colder climes. Excellent cut flowers, gloriosas are also highly attractive to butterflies!
The extravagant blooms of lycoris would surely delight Dr. Seuss and his legions of fans. Everything about this beauty is, well... strange! The lycoris bulb sleeps all summer long, completely dormant. In late summer, the blooms suddenly pop up from bare ground, with these flirtatious, amazing blooms atop 2-foot tall, sturdy, bare stems. Once the blooms are past, the foliage follows from fall through spring, when the plants go dormant once again.
Lycoris thrive in full sun with little water. Easy to please, lycoris are very resistant to deer and highly attractive to butterflies! Their uncommon blooming habits have given rise to many inspiring common names, like magic lilies, resurrection lilies, surprise lilies and spider lilies. Hardy to zones 7-11 (the pink lycoris squamigera is hardy down to zone 5!). I don't recommend lycoris for the colder climates, as their dormancy is in summer rather than winter, making it difficult to store them over the cold winter.
Passiflora Passionflower Vines
The wildly exotic blooms of passiflora - the passionflower vine - are often referred to as looking like a spaceship from a distant star!
Whether you see a space ship, or religious symbolism, or the most intricately complex flower of the garden, passionflower vines make an impact! Blooms are found in a wide array of colors, some are wonderfully fragrant, and some passionflower vines produce delicious fruit!
Passionflower vines quickly scramble to their mature height and cover themselves with these arrestingly intricate blooms all summer long. Blooming passionflower vines are a clarion call to all local butterflies to come and party in your garden! Just plant them in a sunny location and provide a support structure they can climb via the tendrils they produce. Hardiness varies by variety, with most hardy to zones 8-11, with a few hardy types handling cooler temps. In colder climates, bring the plants indoors to ready them for the following spring
Eucomis Pineapple Lilies
The whimsically tufted blooms of eucomis have earned it the nickname Pineapple Lily for the top knot of leaves each stem forms. Not quite a tizzled topped tufted mazurka - but I think these playful blooms fit right in with a Dr. Seuss garden, don't you? The wide, rippling leaves at the base of the eucomis is lush and tropical, and sometimes flushed with pink to burgundy. Both the leaves and the stems are often speckled and spotted. When the blooms form they create a splash of color typically in the range of white to burgundy, and are living butterfly magnets. The blooms last many weeks in the garden, and are followed by shiny, fetching seed pods for extended interest in the garden or the vase.
The lovely eucomis pineapple lily is naturally resistant to deer. Are you starting to notice a pattern here? Is it possible that butterflies are totally hip to all that is wonderful and wise with Dr. Seuss while deer just don't get it?
I'd love to hear what you think about planting a Dr. Seuss garden, or adding some whimsical, Seussian flair to your garden! Did I miss one of your favorite plants? Did I include something new to you? Let me know!
Check back soon for more garden musings.
In the meantime,
Check back soon for more garden musings. In the mean time,
- Tags: Species Spotlight
- Kathleen McCarthy