A Couple of Sperry Favorites

Purpleheart and Goldsturm Gloriosa daisy make a dazzling team in Texas gardens.

Purpleheart and Goldsturm Gloriosa daisy make a dazzling team in Texas gardens.


I see these plants at least twice weekly. They’ve been beautiful for weeks, and I finally decided to feature them here.

Purpleheart. The Jenny Joseph poem “Warning” begins: “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.” So maybe purple is an acquired taste in landscaping color. And since I’m as old as some of the old women I know, my gardens now wear purple, too.

Purpleheart (Setcreasea pallida) is a winter-hardy relative of the many tropical forms of wandering Jew. But this one is incredibly winter-hardy. Sure, it dies to the ground with the first freeze, but it comes back reliably. Someone thanked me on my Facebook page the other day for recommending purpleheart. She told me she had doubted me, but that it had come through like a champ. She lives in Amarillo!

Purpleheart grows assertively to be 8 to 10 inches tall. It sprinkles itself with small lavender flowers part of the season. They’re not dazzling, but they are still attractive. But it’s that great foliage that sings. The plant grows in sun or shade, but you’ll have far better color (as in my photo) if you keep it in sun.

Gloriosa daisy ‘Goldsturm.’ You know the Texas wildflower we all call blackeyed-Susan? It’s an annual flower that must start anew from seeds each spring.

Goldsturm is a perennial sister to it. There are other, larger and perhaps showier perennial Rudbeckias, but this one is persistent. The others may fade away after a few years, but Goldsturm keeps coming back. Goldsturm grows to 18 to 22 inches, and it blooms freely for months. New plants will come along early each spring. You can dig and relocate those, and soon, like the rest of us, you’ll have nice plantings of them.

Most independent retail garden centers have these plants still, or they will certainly have them in abundance come late April, May and into June. Start thinking about where you might use them.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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