En Español

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?


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

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


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.


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 Plant Lists Questions

Dense groundcover for full sun on the California coast.
November 08, 2011 - Can you recommend a very dense ground cover that serves as a lawn (in full sun on the coast, pref. drought resistant)? Many thanks in advance.
view the full question and answer

Native Texas Plants for a Terrarium
October 08, 2014 - I have a 55-gallon aquarium that I would like to make into a terrarium. Are there any Texas native plants that would do well in the limited artificial light of the tank? The plants should be of varyin...
view the full question and answer

Small native trees/shrubs for Corpus Christi, TX
July 02, 2012 - Which small native trees or tall shrubs would do well in full sun in Corpus Christi for privacy along a fence line? Blooms are a bonus and evergreen is preferred.Searches on the website aren't produc...
view the full question and answer

Need low-maintenance plants for courtyard in full sun in Rhode Island
June 01, 2007 - I live in West Warwick, Rhode Island. I am designing a courtyard which because of its shape and design receives full sun all day. I am looking for flowers and plants which thrive in the sun yet are ...
view the full question and answer

Listings of the native plants in Texas
September 15, 2006 - What are the native plants in the state of Texas?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center