Category Archives: Research


The Greater Houston Plant Conference is a great opportunity to learn about new plants, breeding programs and ornamental plant trials in Texas and around the country. Come hear from industry experts about which shrubs, annuals and perennials you should be growing. Get your tickets early, we are at a new venue for 2016 with limited seating.    REGISTER TODAY!


We had another great year for plant trials in 2015. Our rainy spring delayed our trial installation since we were a bit on the wet-side. The trials were planted in early June, and evaluated for flower production, leaf color, uniformity of habit and flower, resistance to insects and diseases and overall appearance. Hot Pak™ French Marigold – This new seed series of French marigolds look great not only in packs but also in the landscape. Our trays of 3” pots were uniform across all colors (no PGR applications… Read More →

2015 Landscape & Irrigation Symposium

Join Texas A&M AgriLife Extension as we present the 2015 Landscape & Irrigation Symposium at Constellation Field in Sugar Land on Friday, November 13th. The program is designed to provide the green industry with the latest information on water management. Register         7:00 – 8:15 a.m.                Vendor Setup and Registration 8:15 – 9:30 a.m.                Why Invest in Conservation Practices and Technologies  John O’Donnell 9:30 – 9:45 a.m.            … Read More →

Earth- Kind® Azalea Trial Established at Bear Creek Office

You are probably aware of the Earth-Kind rose program that was initiated by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension in the mid-late 90’s. Dr. Steve George and fellow A&M researchers started the program by evaluating roses utilizing sustainable growing practices. That program has screened hundreds of roses and has resulted in 27 varieties receiving the Earth-Kind designation. The objective of Earth-Kind is to combine the best of organic and traditional landscaping principles and practices to create a horticultural system based on real world effectiveness and environmental responsibility. The goals of… Read More →

Plant Health Workshop

The Plant Health Workshop is an annual cooperative program between Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance that focuses on managing plant pests with less pesticides. This year’s event features speakers on Transitioning to Sustainable Landscape Practices, Laws and Regulations Update, Pollinator Protection, New Landscape Pests, and Rose Rosette. AgriLife Horticulture agents will also conduct a tour of the ongoing research and demonstration plantings at the Harris County Extension Office. Click here to register!

Tulips for Harris County

Tulips are a great sign that spring is coming, but growing them in Houston can be a challenge. If you grew up in the Northeast or Midwest tulips were a mainstay in the spring landscape.  We planted five varieties to see how they would perform under our growing conditions (Table 1). Table 1. Tulip varieties evaluated Variety Color Type World Favorite Scarlet red with yellow edging Darwin Hybrid World Peace Magenta petals edged in gold Darwin Hybrid Passionale Deep purple Triumph Van Eijk Dark pink Darwin Hybrid Onno… Read More →

Top Performers-2014 Harris County Flower Trials

Our plant trials grew in 2014 to 74 varieties evaluating both seed and vegetatively propagated annuals. Some of the species we tested were lantana, coleus, pentas and hybrid impatiens. The trials were planted in early June, and evaluated for flower production, leaf color, uniformity of habit and flower, resistance to insects and diseases and overall appearance.   COLEUS (Solenostemon scutellariodes) Redhead – This vegetative annual has the “WOW” factor with bright red foliage that appeared to glow in the landscape. It performed well in either direct sun or… Read More →

Lobularia-A Great Plant for Harris County

  If you like Alyssum which performs extremely well during the winter/early spring, but are disappointed that it quickly melts away when our heat and humidity sets in then Lobularia  (Lobularia hybrida) may be the answer. Lobularia hybrida is essentially a hybrid alyssum and is starting to make a name for itself in the industry. In our trials last summer, its performance rating was 4.69 / 5.0 when judged for flower production, uniformity of habit, resistance to insects and diseases and appearance. We evaluated the Stream Series™ from… Read More →

Trial Results 2013 – Caladiums

If you like variegated foliage, then you will love Caladiums. Caladiums (Caladium bicolor) are great summer foliage plants to provide that tropical look in the landscape in Houston. They work well in mass plantings, or in small pockets adding splashes of color in either sun or shade conditions. Caladiums also perform well as container plants.   Caladiums are classified into two groups: fancy-leaf varieties that prefer semi-shade to shade conditions and produce a larger plant with full heart-shaped leaves; and strap-leaf varieties that prefer sunny conditions and produce… Read More →

Trial Results 2013 – Pentas

If you like pentas (Pentas lanceolata) then we have some information that will be of interest.  This summer we trialed 17 varieties in our test gardens at Bear Creek and the Precinct 2 Genoa Friendship Garden. Pentas are great annuals for the summer. They attract butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects, and are a great source of nectar for bees.  They perform best in full sun and tolerate high heat and humidity once established. They produce clusters of star shaped flowers in colors of white, pink, red, violet and… Read More →