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

Wednesday - May 02, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Native flowers for color year round
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have the opportunity to recommend plants for a religious organization. They want YEAR ROUND color in some areas, much like how commercial sites use annual color. I would like to suggest native/adaptive plants that can be planted and then exchanged on a quarterly basis. I know mealy blue sage is a good choice. Any other recommendations? What about for fall/winter (can we really replace pansies :)!

ANSWER:

Spring: This is the easiest season to fill. You can use Lupinus texensis (bluebonnets), Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann's daisy), Oenothera speciosa (pink evening-primrose) and Salvia greggii (autumn sage). There are many other choices as well.

Summer: For summer, Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage), Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm), Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) and Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed).

Fall: Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower), Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo), Liatris punctata (dotted blazing star), and Solidago canadensis (tall goldenrod).

Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage) may bloom from spring through fall.

Winter: The winter months, December and January, will be the most difficult to fill. However, Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower) blooms into December and Thelesperma filifolium var. filifolium (stiff greenthread) will bloom through the winter months into spring. In the wild you can often see Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena) and Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) blooming if the temperatures haven't been too cold and there has been enough rainfall.

Perhaps you could consider grasses that would retain their attractive foliage and even bloom in the winter months, such as Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly) or Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem).


Lupinus texensis

Engelmannia peristenia

Oenothera speciosa

Salvia greggii

Salvia farinacea

Monarda citriodora

Gaillardia pulchella

Asclepias tuberosa

Helianthus maximiliani

Eryngium leavenworthii

Liatris punctata

Solidago canadensis

Salvia coccinea

Ratibida columnifera

Thelesperma filifolium var. filifolium

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Melampodium leucanthum

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Schizachyrium scoparium

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Establishing wildflowers on a slope in Virginia
August 18, 2012 - From Roanoke Virginia. I have a steep bank rising from one side of my driveway to woods above. Different areas vary from full sun, to half day shade. It is possible to carefully walk/stand on it, we a...
view the full question and answer

Companion planting with heartleaf skullcap from Arlington TX
April 24, 2011 - What can I plant with heart-leaf skullcap when it goes dormant in the summer?
view the full question and answer

Perennial Suggestions for Under Ash Trees in Minnesota
June 12, 2013 - With our house we have inherited 2 ash trees in our front yard with a large amount landscaping underneath. I'm replacing the landscaping but there are tree roots at the surface preventing me from bei...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with aphids on milkweed plants in Alloway, NJ.
July 11, 2012 - I planted milk weed for the Monarch butterfly. Every year it gets orange aphids that seem to suck out the juices and eventually kill the plant sooner than I like.
view the full question and answer

Prairie and wetland restoration in Nebraska
July 20, 2007 - We recently bought property south of Crawford,NE near the Pine Ridge area. It has been grazed by horses for years. We'd like to restore the native grasses and flowers. I have no idea where to begi...
view the full question and answer

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