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Sunday - December 09, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Indoor native container plants for Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I like to model the beauty of native plants where ever possible, and would like to have some in my office. Are there any Central TX natives that will survive in an office environment? I do have a big window that it can sit by.

ANSWER:

Yes, there are native plants that will grow in containers and Mr. Smarty Plants would like to guide you to a title, "Container Gardening with Texas Native Plants", in our "How to Articles" that gives you lots of tips on how to proceed with your project. This article assumes your containers are going to be outdoors, but you can also grow native plants indoors. Container gardening indoors, however, has some challenges that outdoor container gardening doesn't necessarily have. First of all, how much sun will be available for the plants? Even though you have a large window I imagine that there will be only a few hours of sun available every day; therefore, you will need to pick plants that grow in shade or part shade. Secondly, you are probably going to want to use mostly evergreen plants. Otherwise, your plants may look pretty good for spring, summer, and early fall and then not so good during the winter. You can supplement the evergreens with annual or deciduous perennials for accents. Thirdly, the size of your space will determine the size of the plants you can use. Whatever the maximum projected size of any plant you pick, however, you can start with a small specimen inside and move it outside when it grows too large.

The following plants are Texas natives that will grow in shade or part shade and should be available in local nurseries.

The following native ferns are excellent smaller evergreens.

Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair)

Thelypteris kunthii (Kunth's maiden fern)

Pellaea ovata (ovateleaf cliffbrake)

The following are shrubs or small trees that are evergreen. You can begin with small specimens and then move them outdoors when they grow too large. Most of these listed, however, are relatively slow-growing.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Leucophyllum frutescens (cenizo)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

These two are miscellaneous evergreens with interesting foliage.

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto)

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Here are a few non-evergreeen plants that you can grow as accents during the spring, summer and fall.

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

You can find more possibilities for accent plants on the Recommended Species page and you can find a list of nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants in our National Suppliers Directory.

 

 

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