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

Thursday - May 24, 2007

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Choosing large containers (pots) for plants in Dallas, Texas.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi, I was wondering if you could help me pick a plant for a container garden. We live in Dallas, TX. Our soil is very clay, but I thought we could do something fun in containers with sand or something. Would it be possible for us to grow blueberries or some other fruit in a shady area? I wouldn't want to bring it in when the weather gets cold (big containers).

ANSWER:

Blueberries and most other fruit-bearing plants prefer full sun to perform well. If your container garden must be in the shade, your choices for fruiting shrubs and trees will be limited. Moreover, blueberries require acid soil, so you would need to amend container's soil substantially to lower the pH. A nice choice for a shady area container would be American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana). It should be noted, though, that the fruit of this plant is not edible. Regardless of what you choose to plant in your container, you will need to amend your clayey soil to loosen it up some. Thoroughly mixing one part commercial potting mix to two parts soil is probably about right for most plants in large containers. Container-grown plants tend to dry out faster than those in the ground, so you will need to keep a close eye on them, especially during summer. In winter, container-grown plants are more susceptible to cold because the roots are much more likely to freeze in an exposed location.
 

More Container Gardens Questions

Texas native plants in an indoor space in Dallas
July 31, 2009 - Is there a native Texas plant that would be suited for an indoor application, such as large planters in a lobby space?
view the full question and answer

Overwintering Cardinal Flower in Thornwood NY
October 01, 2009 - I have 6 Cardinal Flower plants in planters. They have mulch on top to keep them moist. Can they stay in the planters all winter? Do I cut the stalks before winter comes or leave as is?
view the full question and answer

Planting horsetail indoors from Collierville TN
November 12, 2012 - I would like to plant horsetail indoors. Can it handle the inside? Will it try to go dormant or it that a temperature trigger which means it will not go dormant?
view the full question and answer

Failure of potted verbena to bloom
July 20, 2008 - I have a trailing purple verbena that won't bloom. It is in a container, not in the ground, and gets lots of sun. What is the problem?
view the full question and answer

Wintering a Lemon Cypress tree in Eagan MN
September 29, 2009 - I Have a 2 1/2' Lemon Cypress Tree. I'm wondering if I can leave it outdoors for the winter, if not, how would I winter over indoors?
view the full question and answer

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