Far Out Flora

Help! What should we plant?


Matti posted about our unfortunate gopher attack a few days ago. I’m kind of sad, but not too sad. We’re excited to plant something new in the empty spot. The question is what are we going to plant to replace it? We’ve narrowed it down to five available options, but need you to help us choose.

#1 Musschia wollastonii

Musschia wollastonii

Musschia wollastonii

This is Matti’s favorite of the bunch (I think). Musschia wollastonii is from Madeira, where it hangs on coastal cliffs. Loves fog and life on the beach. It can get 5-7 feet tall, but after it flowers it’s done for (monocarpic).There’s another cool copyrighted pic of the flowers on flickr.

#2 Salvia regla

Salvia regla


Salvia regla

This Salvia regla is hot. I’ve been itching for a Salvia. Late bloomer, bright red flowers the hummingbirds will love, cool textured leaves. The only downside is that it’s deciduous. Coming from Wisconsin we’re kind of obsessed with evergreen.

#3 Berzelia lanuginosa“Buttonbush”

Berzelia lanuginosa“Buttonbush"

If you like looking at really cool plant pictures check out J.G. in SF’s photostream on flickr. He took this great pic of Berzelia lanuginosa“Buttonbush”,and the close up of the Salvia regla above.  Buttonbush keeps telling me to give it a shot. I’m a little worried we won’t water it enough.

#4 Fuchsia boliviana ‘Alba’

Fuchsia boliviana ‘Alba’

Fuchsia boliviana ‘Alba’ has been calling my name since I  became a fuchsiaholic. It even has, “pleasantly flavored black fruits”.  So far we’ve had nothing but  awesome experiences with every fuchsia we’ve planted.

#5 Ageratum corymbosum

Ageratum corymbosum

I often shy away from plants that remind me of gardening in Wisconsin. This reminds me of the puny little Ageratum I would buy in six packs for containers back in Madison, but on steroids. The flower heads are six inches wide and bloom most of the year! The dark foliage is pretty happening too.

Thanks for helping us choose!


  1. i am going to have to have a fuchsia like that one. gorgeous! i definitely vote for that – or salvia regla.

  2. I love the colors of Salvia regla. That’s my vote.

  3. Hey guys. I tried the Musscia in my yard and it was a total bust with the fog. Its still there but really struggling. I think the buttonbush will be a nice backdrop to all your other plants!

  4. The deciduousness is kind of a dealbreaker for the S regla. Got weeded out in the winter. Ooops. How about S gesneriiflora. Okay that can get big. I can’t give it enough water in summer but it gets big where its happy like at the Huntington. How about S “vanhouttei. Does not like my heat and drought but should love the Sunset. Or Brighamia insignis or Coreopsis gigantea for that Dr Seuss look. For red flowers Malvaviscus arboreus is tough with incredibly red flowers all year. Can spread, might want more warmth will block the neighbors. Isoplexus canariensis with incredible orange red flowers. Otatea beautiful and somewhat useful. Or my favorite Sonchus palmensis. I saw it at Berkeley Botanic Garden . It has the most insanely gorgeous foliage. Abutilon “Vesuvius” has the most beautiful red orange flowers. They absolutely glow with the sun behind. Grow a clematis up through it for extra flower power.

    Of your picks reluctantly the Ageratum corymbosum (Barlettina) but it has those depressing lavender colored flowers.

    This reminds me that I need to find seeds of the Sonchus. Thanks

  5. I voted for the fuchsia, achildhood sentimental favorite..however I say PLANT THEM ALL!

  6. If the fuchsia wins, I can give you loads of cuttings from the one I have in my backyard here in SF.

  7. I like the idea of the Musschia wollastonii, though the monocarpic bit is a bit worrying. I suppose you could chose at that point whether you wanted another the same or try something different – it might actually be a good thing.

    The Buttonbush or Salvia would be my other picks. I’m not sure how bulbs or winter work where you are ;) but you might be able to fill the space with a winter blooming bulb to fill the space while the Salvia is dormant? The Buttonbush is pretty sweet though…

  8. Out of pure self-interest I vote for the berzelia because I’m currently growing the musschia and have grown most of the others but would love to see photos of that berzelia in your garden!

  9. I voted Musschia because they have a special place in my heart after I grew one in a great big pot while I interned at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. I have one growing on my balcony now but it is not that happy to live in SoCal.

  10. Pingback: Great Link: J.G. in S.F.’s Flickr Photostream | All Andrew's Plants

  11. Pingback: Strybing All Day Long | Far Out Flora

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