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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - October 27, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Small, flowering, evergreen plants for hillside in Austin.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a steep, dry hillside measuring approximately 4 feet high by six feet wide. I want to plant low growing, evergreen, flowering plants across the bed that will flower as long as possible, and thrive in the given conditions. I live in Austin. The hillside receives part to full sun. There is irrigation for water. At the top of the bed there is yellow nandina, a crepe myrtle and rosemary shrubs. Do you have any suggestions, please?

ANSWER:

Here are a few plants that bloom for long periods of time and are mostly evergreen; i.e., they stay green in milder winters, but may go dormant during very cold winters. The first four are a little larger and showier than the last two, but perhaps you could use a mixture.

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia)

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Prairie verbena)

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Phyla nodiflora (frogfruit)

If you want something that will stay green all year long, but without showy blossoms, you could consider using one of the sedges. For example:

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)


Chrysactinia mexicana

Melampodium leucanthum

Wedelia texana

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Calyptocarpus vialis

Phyla nodiflora

Carex texensis

Carex blanda

 


 

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