The velvety gray-silver foliage of woolly stemodia is a cooling element in its native high-heat landscape. Grown primarily for its lovely foliage, this tender perennial has tiny lavender or white flowers that are a lovely addition to its trailing stems. In Zones 8 to 11 where it is hardy, it’s grown as an easy-care, drought-tolerant groundcover. In cool zones, it is a valuable container plant that will readily tumble over the edge of a pot.
Planting Woolly Stemodia
Plant woolly stemodia with other low-water plants for a color- and texture-rich garden year-round. Also called xeric plants, woolly stemodia and its low-water companions thrive in hot, dry spots, such as areas along parking curbs and driveways or at the edge of hot, reflective patios where other plants can't take the heat. Great planting partners for woolly stemodia include sotol, prickly pear cactus, and gaura. Count on these easy-to-grow perennials to provide food and habitat for wildlife too.
Woolly Stemodia Care
Plant woolly stemodia in full sun or part shade and well-drained soil. Native to south Texas and northern Mexico, it thrives in heat and dry conditions. In the landscape, woolly stemodia tolerates reflected heat and light from rock and asphalt and is a good choice for planting places where few other plants will grow. Water plants well after planting and then only water during extreme drought. Overwatering causes woolly stemodia to take on a leggy, thin appearance. Woolly stemodia is evergreen in Zones 10 and 11. It is hardy, although deciduous, in Zones 8 and 9.
Grow woolly stemodia in containers filled with well-drained potting soil. Pair woolly stemodia with plants that have similar water needs for a successful container combination. Or only plant woolly stemodia in a container so you can meet its minimal water needs with ease. A fast-growing plant in full sun and dry soil, woolly stemodia can easily fill a container with color and texture on its own.
Plant Woolly Stemodia With:
A magnificently sculptural plant for the desert garden, sotol has striking straplike blue-green leaves that make it look a bit like yucca or agave. The evergreen foliage is thin like an ornamental grass and has a pleasing fine texture year-round. Plant it where the sun can shine through the leaves in early morning or late evening, highlighting the plant's pretty silhouette. Sotol grows best in full sun and gravelly, sandy soil. Once established, it has good cold tolerance, but be sure to give it extra protection during the first winter after planting.
Delicate and airy, gaura is known as 'Whirling Butterflies', inspired by its dainty, dancing butterflylike flowers. It has long reddish stems that bear loose panicles of flowers, which open from pink buds. In beds and borders, they are best massed for greater effect or can be planted in small groups among shrubs. Gaura prefers rich, well-drained soil; it will not tolerate wet feet. Cut back by half after the first bloom flush for rebloom. It grows best where nights are cool.