Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Texas Betony (Stachys coccinea)

When winter cold arrives and most of our plants are down to sticks and stems, I appreciate Texas Betony, also known as Scarlet Betony and Scarlet Hedgenettle.  This native Texas perennial remains firmly evergreen, a cheerful oasis in a brown landscape. 

I like it the rest of the year too.  Texas Betony blooms tubular red flowers from March into October, sometimes later, even through the blast of last summer when a lot of plants gave up.

And the flowers attract hummingbirds.  As one of the few plants blooming during fall migration, the plants around our porch got a lot of traffic last October, giving my cats hours  of nose-to-glass entertainment.

<---See the black-chinned hummingbird amid the blooms?

Texas Betony is a perennial herb happiest growing in well-drained sand, loam or clay in dappled-shade to part-sun (morning).  Water needs are moderate.

Hardy in zones 7a-10b, established plants will handle temperatures down to -17F, although stems will redden and new leaves may burn at the colder end of the scale.

And, Ta-Da!, deer don't eat it.  The arrow-shaped leaves are strongly-scented and fuzzy, a double deer-deterrent.

Individual plants grow in a low mound 12-24" tall and wide.  In good conditions, the plants will grow into a sprawl.  And Texas Betony produces prolific seed, giving rise to seedlings in open areas.  These characteristics make this plant a good shady-area groundcover.  Gardeners who want a more compact appearance can trim back longer stems to keep the look of a mound.

Evergreen, shady-area ground cover, blooms and hummingbirds, deer-resistant.  Texas Betony has a lot to offer.  You'll thank yourself for adding it to your garden.

For more great plants, click on over to Appalachian Feet's How to Find Great Plants ezine.

Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. I am always on the lookout for a tried and true deer resistant bloomer and this fits the bill. I'll add this to my spring planting list for sure. Thanks for the nod!

  2. This looks like one I need to try. I have..or will, when I finish digging...beds that will be a good spot for them.
    Thanks for the tip.

  3. Kathleen,
    I always learn something good from you. I love you tons.


  4. Isn't Texas Betony aslo called Scarlet Hedgenettle? This grew really well in my garden for one season but didn't come back. Drat!

  5. Great plant-I'm sure the hummingbirds do love it.. Thanks for the info!


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