Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 03, 2014

From: henderson, NV
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Wildflowers
Title: Less Maintenance Plant Suggestions for New Raised Bed in Henderson, NV.
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We have a newly constructed raised garden bed. I was wondering what kind of plants would be appropriate to plant this springtime in Henderson, NV with less maintenance because I work full time.

ANSWER:

It’s great that you are thinking about native plants for your new raised garden bed. This will be a great opportunity to design your new bed with several layers of wildflowers, perennials, and perhaps even shrubs that will give you enjoyment year round. Think about having plants that offer attractive features during many seasons (fruit, blooms, bark, twig structure, evergreen leaves or needles, scent, etc.) Packing all these features into a smaller bed gets a little more challenging, but is not impossible. Regarding your request for less maintenance, many native plants are less maintenance since they are well adapted to their region and usually don’t have to be staked, sprayed, pruned, have soil treatments to modify the soil and other high maintenance treatments.

You didn’t say what size your new bed is or whether it has sun or shade exposure and the type of soil that you used. So I can’t suggest specific plants, but I can tell you the first place to go to find a list of potential plants for your state is our Native Plants Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the category: State – Nevada. Then for your site, select the habit, duration, leaf retention, light requirement, soil moisture and size that you would like. These search criteria will give you lots of plants to consider. Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list.

To determine if plants will be lower maintenance, look for references about any major pest and diseases, reseeding, suckering, and other maintenance clues and avoid these plants. Once you have your prospective list of native plants, you might want to cross reference it with the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition Regional Plant List. They have put together a list of plants that are adapted to the desert environment and include “bulletproof” plants tolerant of heat, cold and wind; are water efficient; low maintenance; non-invasive; and pest and disease resistant. Several City of Henderson employees were instrumental in putting together the plant list. The Acacia Demonstration Gardens in Henderson is a good place to visit for ideas too. 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Salt from water softener affecting roses.
October 12, 2007 - I have a water softener at my well and wonder if an accumulation of salt over time is causing problems for my roses. After several years of doing really well the branches turn brown and eventually die...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub with red berries in Florida
April 22, 2008 - I purchased a plant/shrub at a yard sale in central Fl. They told me it was a native plant. It looks like a holly with the red berries but the leaves are not like a holly. They were all over the yar...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for area under grand fir (Abies grandis) in Idaho
July 08, 2010 - What can I plant on a slope under Grand Fir trees in North Idaho, zone 4 - anything deer resistant?
view the full question and answer

Need for smaller tree with less invasive roots from Ft. Worth TX
June 07, 2014 - The sycamore in the front yard has developed roots larger than the branches. They have decided that the water and sewer lines are perfect to acquire their water from. For this reason it will be coming...
view the full question and answer

Pool-side ornamentals for south Louisiana
May 07, 2012 - We live in south Louisiana and are re-doing the plants around our pool. What are some low maintenance, small shrubs (flowering) or other ornamentals that would be good in this area?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.