En EspaŅol

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
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

Friday - July 27, 2007

From: Baltimore, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Blue plants or flowers in Baltimore, MD
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have a taxi company in the city called Bluecab. The headquarters is in an industrial area and the soil is tough and well, industrial. There will be no watering or maintenance done. Looks like a car dealership. Has islands for wild flowers around the parking pads. Think super commercial. What should be planted to look good and also bluish and choke out the weeds that are there. Its not always dry here but it can be.


You've definitely given Mr. Smarty Plants a tough assignment. First of all, you need to realize that whatever you plant, no matter how tough and drought resistant it is, will need some initial watering and care until it has established its root system. That said, here are a few recommendations. This sounds like an ideal place for Juniperus communis (common juniper). It is also called "prostrate juniper" and grows low and spreads out over the ground. It is evergreen and, although its foliage is green, it will have bluish-black berries on it. You could add some hearty perennial wildflowers with blue and/or purple flowers around the juniper such as:

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine)

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage)

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve (smooth blue aster)

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium (aromatic aster)

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain)

Here are some possibilities for plants with bluish-green or silvery green foliage that are hearty and require little care:

Artemisia ludoviciana (white sagebrush)

Elaeagnus commutata (silverberry)

Heliotropium curassavicum (salt heliotrope)

Finally, if you would like a green grass-like plant, a good choice is Carex texensis (Texas sedge) which also grows in Maryland, despite its name.

Juniperus communis

Lupinus perennis

Salvia lyrata

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve

Symphyotrichum oblongifolium

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Artemisia ludoviciana

Elaeagnus commutata

Heliotropium curassavicum

Carex texensis




More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for a Shady Woodland in MA
June 09, 2013 - Hello, I am looking for natives to plant in full shade or part shade. My house is in the mountain woodland area of Mt. Washington, MA. I am looking for grasses, flowers and shrubs. Also I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Request for native grasses from Hillsboro TX
August 04, 2012 - P.S. I forgot to mention one very important fact: my neighbor specifically asked for "native grass" recommendations. He thought he was getting a native grass recommendation.
view the full question and answer

Non-native smoketree for California City, CA
June 28, 2010 - I was wondering if you could tell me if it would be a good or bad idea to plant a Smoke Tree (most likely European) in the vicinity of a septic tank. We are looking for something which will provide a...
view the full question and answer

Planting turf grass in PA
October 23, 2010 - Is it too late to plant new grass in mid October in Pittsburg? Should I wait until Spring at this point?
view the full question and answer

Does Calyptocarpus vialis (Horseherb) compete with turf grasses
October 05, 2015 - For my yard in central Austin Does horse herb, Calyptocarpus vialis help or damage the growth of native short grasses? The grasses include Curly Mesquite and Blue Gamma planted early in the spring or...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center