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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.

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

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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. 

 

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