En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - School wildflower, native plant garden

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

Tuesday - October 23, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: School wildflower, native plant garden
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am helping my daughter's third grade class plant a very small (about 5 ft. square) wildflower/native plant bed that is in full sun. I'm interested in flowering plants that bloom in the very early spring and not so interested in those that will be blooming during summer vacation. What would you suggest for the most impact? Thanks!

ANSWER:

That's a pretty small space, but you can have "specimen" plants that look good in the spring and can get along with minimum care in the summer, when the young gardeners are away. If you are thinking mostly of flowering plants, there are several Texas natives that flower in early to mid-spring. You could also put in some low grasses that will add texture and interest to the space without showy blooms.

First, go to our How To Articles for articles on the issues you wish to address, even though you are working on a very small scale. Next, just for fun, go to the Plant Database and scroll down to the "Combination Search." Click on Texas (for the state), herb (for habit), and bloom times of March, April and May. Okay, too much information, that gave me 729 possibilities, but you get the idea of how to narrow your search for specific plants. Next, let's try the Propagation Database. Each of these gives specific instructions on how to plant certain Texas wildflowers.

I chose several to look at, but some bloomed later in the summer than you specified. All of the following are native to Texas, grow well in our area, and bloom March to May. Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush), Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies), Phlox drummondii (annual phlox). Since these need to be planted from seed, you need to get going on it as soon as possible, no later than the middle of November. Please note in the articles on these plants in the Propagation Database the types of preparation that are necessary for these seeds. These are all annuals but if left undisturbed might reseed for next year.

If you also want some native grasses that might be ornamental in the space when the flowers are not in bloom, consider these: Sisyrinchium sagittiferum (spearbract blue-eyed grass) and Nassella tenuissima (finestem needlegrass). Understand, in both flowers and grasses there are many other possibilities, but now that you know how to search our Native Plant Database, you may choose others if you prefer.

 


Castilleja indivisa

Oenothera speciosa

Sisyrinchium sagittiferum

 


Nassella tenuissima
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflower seeding for hurricane-damaged areas of New Orleans
January 05, 2007 - I need some information. I am going to be traveling to New Orleans in two weeks to visit a relative. They are in an area that was decimated by the hurricane. Though they have rebuilt the neighborho...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
July 30, 2012 - Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plants for shady garden in Bastrop
July 02, 2010 - We live in Bastrop, 8 miles west of the Historical district. We have a small flower garden in a shady spot around 25 feet from the back patio of our home. We'd like to find out what native plants, f...
view the full question and answer

Color of Englemann's daisy (Engelmannia peristenia)
April 11, 2010 - I'm in Austin and just bought some Engelmann's Daisies at the plant sale on Fri. The picture had them with white petals, and your plant database has them with yellow petals. I specifically wanted wh...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bluebonnets to garden from Columbus TX
January 30, 2014 - Is it possible to transplant bluebonnets from pasture to garden and if so when is the best time to do this? Thank you
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