While I'm going to continue my series of Plant Profiles on this week's GardenLine Email Tip, I thought it was worth mentioning that there WILL NOT BE FREE PLANTS this week at the coming GardenLine appearance. However, I will be at a garden center that actually carries this particular plant, among many others that were profiled on the Channel 11 series I alluded to last week.

naThe plant profile this week is all about the Gold Duranta ( a.k.a. The Cuban or Golden Duranta) Technically, it is known as Duranta repens 'Goldii'. However, while this has the name Duranta, it is nothing like the regular Duranta (a.k.a. The Golden Dewdrop), but trust me when I say "that's a good thing." First and foremost, what I love about the Gold Duranta is the color of the leaves. The first time I saw them, I had to have them in my own landscape, because there are not enough yellow-leafed plants out there in the first place. naAnyone that knows my landscape knows how much I love yellow. It's not because my last name is Lemmon, although that would make sense, but I love yellow in my landscape because nothing contrasts against the dark green as robustly. The lime, chartreuse and gold colors of the Gold Duranta are hard to beat. And this will be the very first plant added to my book when it comes time to re-edit and re-publish. Not only does it flat our work great in our environment, it may be the ultimate plant that works in my own "color-teiring" system as written about in the book.

While we all love the regular Duranta, with it's stunning blue flowers, the gold version from Jamaica is entirely different. First, it only reaches maybe 2 feet in height at maturity, but it spreads and fills out a space in landscape in no time. Which means it can be a semi-ground cover, a small hedge row or any attempt at color-separation. Again, that yellow/chartreuse coloring is what lights up the landscape like few other plants can do. Now, having said that, it does flower, and it does flower arching blue/purple clusters but not near to the extent that the regular duranta does.

It's also grown much like you would a lime-green or gold Joseph's Coat used at the front of the border as a ground cover or tucked in as filler in pocket plantings. It can be cut or sheared as needed, though this is not really necessary. I've been keeping mind rounde/mounded so far, much the way landscapers do for the dwarf yaupons.

naThe Gold Duranta excels in well-drained, fertile beds with part to full sun. If you have tight, heavy, compacted clay, it will pay dividends to incorporate 3 to 4 inches of organic matter to loosen it up. Mine do great in the extensively raised beds I have with Rose Soil. While it is noted as a ‘drought tollerant' plant, it will need lots of water and a bit of TLC for the first year after planting.

There are a few nureseries in town that are already carrying this new plant. When I was on Great Day Houston, I noted that Shades of Texas was the "grower" I knew of locally that carried a great stock. However, I also know it will be available this weekend at the Arbor Gate where we just so happen to be having an appearance following the GardenLine broadcast. I'm scheduled to be there from 11 to 1 this Saturday, and I will have examples of this plant and a few others we profiled on the recent Channel 11 broadcast as well. But if you get there well before I do, please don't hesitate to ask for the Gold Duranta or the Cuban Gold Duranta.

nanaThe Sweet Almond Verbena, a plant I have written extensively about in the past. They will also have every imaginable Earth Kind Rose, including the Knockout, the Double Knockout and Belinda's Dream. A new and exciting Canna Lily known as Daisy's Delight that is compact and can grow in shade will also be on display. Finally, another unusual plant they will have at the Arbor Gate this weekend, and one we profiled on Channel 11 is the Abutilon, a.k.a. The African Hibiscus.


Randy Lemmon is the host of the GardenLine radio program on Newsradio 740 KTRH. Randy has been doing GardenLine in one capacity or another since December of 1995, for all three of the now Clear Channel AM stations - KTRH, KPRC & KBME. When Randy took over GardenLine, he replaced long-time Houston radio veteran and GardenLine originator, Bill Zak. For those who remember that far back, GardenLine was a weekly radio staple on KTRH from 10 a.m. to Noon Mondays through Fridays - along with a Saturday show as well. Now GardenLine is heard exclusively on Newsradio 740 KTRH on weekend mornings.