En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Native flowers for color year round

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 - 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 Wildflowers Questions

Visiting Texas for bluebonnets
December 29, 2004 - I know rainfall amounts in the winter affect the blooming of bluebonnets in the spring. I am thinking about visiting Texas this spring. What should I be looking for in rainfall amounts? I will watch...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of Oenothera flava growing in Michigan
June 16, 2006 - Oenothera flava (A. Nels) Garrett, is it true that this plant is not in Michigan? Is it rare or something? Because I had a hard time trying to find out what it was.
view the full question and answer

Desmanthus and Chamaecrista seeds
June 05, 2005 - Hello my wildflower specialist friend. I got 20 Desmanthus illinoensis and also Chamaecrista fasciculata seeds. Then I planted them in early March, when there was still frost, in clayish soil, not far...
view the full question and answer

Springbeauty in New Jersey and Dog Allergies
May 11, 2013 - Is Claytonia virginica in New Jersey and could my dog be allergic to it?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping a Fence with Native Plants for Central Texas
March 08, 2013 - I'm looking to landscape my fence that I've lined with woven bamboo. The area gets the hot afternoon sun in summer and is pretty shady in winter. The plants need to be drought and heat tolerant. I'...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center