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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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Thursday - February 28, 2008

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Grasses and wildflowers for Houston meadow
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I recently bought a house in a new subdivision just south of Houston - as with most new developments, the area is devoid of nature for the most part... I have planted many bird/butterfly/bee friendly plants in the backyard and instead of having a traditional lawn, I would like to create a meadow. I have been looking at the Wildflower Center's selection of native seeds, but I'm not sure where to start. Can you help me choose some native grasses and wildflowers that might do well in the wet clay soil? I am a big fan of insects and birds and want to make my yard into a refuge for them. Thank you for your help!

ANSWER:

First of all, let me recommend our article, Wildflower Meadow Gardening, in our "How to Articles". It gives you information about setting up and managing a wildflower meadow.

Here are a few recommendations for grasses and wildflowers that should do well in the Houston area:

GRASSES

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

WILDFLOWERS

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Calylophus berlandieri (Berlandier's sundrops)

Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Eustoma exaltatum (catchfly prairie gentian)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Liatris punctata (dotted blazing star)

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Ruellia nudiflora (violet wild petunia)

Salvia azurea (azure blue sage)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

You can also go to our list of recommended species for East Texas to find more choices.

Check with Native American Seed in Junction. They have many wildflower mixes and their Native Trail Mix has a combination of wildflowers and native grasses that should do well in the Houston area. They also have tips about planting wildflower and grass seeds.


Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Bouteloua curtipendula

Elymus canadensis

Eragrostis intermedia

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Schizachyrium scoparium

Achillea millefolium

Asclepias tuberosa

Callirhoe involucrata

Calylophus berlandieri

Castilleja indivisa

Coreopsis lanceolata

Eustoma exaltatum

Gaillardia pulchella

Liatris punctata

Monarda citriodora

Phlox drummondii

Ruellia nudiflora

Salvia azurea

Salvia coccinea

Oenothera speciosa

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii
 

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