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?

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

Care of Florida Blue or Lisiantus in Houston
October 24, 2005 - I'm in Houston, Texas and I'm growing, for the first time, Florida blues, Eustoma, purple. Since I am from California I'm not familiar with this plant. It's beautiful. How do I care for them i...
view the full question and answer

Food Allergy to Beautyberry or Persimmon?
October 22, 2015 - I think I might have a food allergy to Beautyberry or American Persimmon, eaten Saturday at the North Carolina Great Dismal park. These were the only strange foods recently, though I've had persimmo...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover plants for a shady North Carolina yard
March 20, 2016 - Ground cover erosion control for heavily shaded area in Cary, North Carolina. Current landscapers use strong blowers for leaf control. This blows away any seeds, loose soil and mulch. Tree roots ar...
view the full question and answer

Invasiveness of Cosmos from Decatur GA
April 26, 2013 - I have been searching for an answer concerning the invasive plant Cosmos. I know that Florida declares this but I have not been able to find out does Georgia? And specifically,is it only the yellow Co...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a 45 degree slope in Falls Church, VA.
January 23, 2013 - Have a 45 degree hillside 50 feet wide by 60 feet long on north side of 26 story building. Very little sun with the need for soil retention plants. Would like a native plant or plants to cover area...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center