En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - August 06, 2014

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Groundcovers, Wildflowers
Title: Late Blooming Wildflowers for Round Rock
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I thought this would be a previously answered question but found nothing in the data base. My question is: in Central Texas what can be grown for some color or interest in a wildflower area when the wildflowers have finished (late summer). The spring and early summer wildflowers were beautiful but now everything is dead in that area and I've kept the area weeded so it is it is a brown eyesore in my landscape. What I believe is green dichondra seems to be starting to cover one end of the area (tiny "swirls" of leaves about 1 inch high and pretty solid)--would this be good to take advantage of and would it not choke out the wildflowers when they start to sprout in the winter and early spring? Would appreciate any suggestions.

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants thinks it should have been answered already also, but I did a few searches and either got too much return, with nothing particularly useful, or nothing!

We can, of course, take the direct route.  In the ‘Recommended Species” lists we have the capability to search the lists for selected attributes.  This link is to the “Central Texas” list of recommended species.  When I select for “herbs” [wildflowers] with a bloom time of October, November & December, I still had 25 plants that might bloom late.  The six of the first of these are:

Chamaecrista fasciculata var. fasciculata (Partridge pea)   [May-Oct]
Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)  [July-Nov]
Coreopsis tinctoria var. tinctoria (Golden tickseed)  [Feb-Nov]
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena)   [Mar-Dec]
Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower)  [Aug-Nov]
Hibiscus martianus (Heartleaf rosemallow)   [Jan-Dec]

As you can see from the extended bloom times, these may be the wildflowers that you associate with late summer.  The trick is extending the bloom time.  In the heat and drought of the “normal” summer we’ve had lately they may well bloom once and be done.  With some pampering, this bloom time may well be extended into the late fall!

Yes, a groundcover can also keep your area green, and not necessarily be too dense for the wildflowers to penetrate.  Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot) is native in the central texas area.  Dichondra recurvata (Oakwoods ponysfoot)  and Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) can also serve well.  In the late summer to early winter times though, sort of like the wildflowers, the plants will need to be coddled a bit to keep them green and nice.

 

From the Image Gallery


Partridge pea
Chamaecrista fasciculata var. fasciculata

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Golden tickseed
Coreopsis tinctoria var. tinctoria

Prairie verbena
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Maximilian sunflower
Helianthus maximiliani

Heartleaf rosemallow
Hibiscus martianus

Carolina ponysfoot
Dichondra carolinensis

Oakwoods ponysfoot
Dichondra recurvata

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

More Groundcovers Questions

Habiturf lawn in Carson City, NV
October 15, 2013 - I planted habiturf just south of Reno NV May 5. First two months no or little germination because nite temps too cold. Now doing ok except battling purslane and redstem filaree.. SO, I notice bare/spa...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Thornton CO
June 04, 2012 - I want to order ground cover because I don't want to mess with grass any more. I live in Colorado, north of Denver. The soil has a lot of clay. I tried clover and that did not do well. My yard is par...
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Kentucky
June 12, 2010 - We live in central Kentucky and have a backyard pool that desperately needs some landscaping. I would like plants that don't drop a lot of leaves or "trash". I'd like a list of great poolside pl...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Brooklyn, NY
January 25, 2013 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a fast growing ground cover for my Brooklyn, NY back yard. The area is nestled between 3 buildings and a fairly large tree, so most of the day its shady, but ...
view the full question and answer

Oxalis drummondii as ground cover
May 11, 2007 - We live in Austin, Texas. A sunny, dry swath of grass (originally St. Augustine) has been invaded by pink wood-sorrel (a large-leafed, mounding kind). I love the wood-sorrel, and would like to use it ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center