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?

Share

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
1 rating

Sunday - March 02, 2008

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Suggested native plants for Katy, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants I recently moved to Katy, Tx (just outside of Houston) and I would like to know what type of plants and flowers are best for this type of climate. The soil in my flower beds seems to have a lot of clay. I have 2 large oak trees in my backyard so I would also like information on flowers and plants that thrive in shade. The area in the backyard that is not completely shaded is partial sun/shade. My flower bed in the front yard is mostly sun during the day and shaded toward evening time.

ANSWER:

You're in luck! We have a Recommended Species List for East Texas that lists 133 commercially available plants, including trees, shrubs and flowers, that will do well in your area. Katy, however, is not altogether an East Texas ecology, so we also took a look at the Recommended Species List for Central Texas. This gave us a list of 155 plants which should do well in Central Texas. A lot of these plants from the two lists are going to be the same, and probably a plant from one list would be okay in either area. You might also be interested to know that Katy is located in a vegetational area called the Post Oak Savannah, which is a transitional area between the Pineywoods and the Blackland Prairies, which means you are probably correct that your soil is pretty much clay, and also is why we are recommending plants from both East Texas and Central Texas.

Next, we went to our Native Plant Database, which, in the "Combination Search" gives us an opportunity to search for specific plants on the criteria of state (Texas, what else?), Habit (herb, shrub, tree), Duration (annual, perennial), sun exposure, and moisture in the soil. This gives you an opportunity to check on plants that may be recommended for your area. When you look at a list, you can click on the scientific name and it will take you to a webpage with more complete information on the plant, such as soils that it grows well in, and ways to propagate it. We're going to give you two sample lists; one of plants that should do well in the shade of the oak trees, and one of plants needing 6 hours or more of sun a day for the bed in your front yard. By using our various databases, you can tailor your garden selections to your own preferences and the specific areas you wish to plant. Please remember that our lists are only a very small sample; you will have a large number of plants from which to choose your favorites for color, size, blossom time, etc.

Finally, go to our Plant Suppliers list of nurseries that carry native plants in Texas; there are 38 nurseries on this list and several are in the Houston area. More nurseries all the time are starting to carry native plants, you are not necessarily restricted to those on the list.

FLOWERING PLANTS FOR 6 OR MORE HOURS OF SUN A DAY

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Conoclinium greggii (palmleaf thoroughwort)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

FLOWERING PLANTS FOR 2 TO 6 HOURS OF SUN A DAY

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Ruellia caroliniensis (Carolina wild petunia)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)


Asclepias tuberosa

Conoclinium greggii

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Aquilegia canadensis

Monarda fistulosa

Ruellia caroliniensis

Lobelia cardinalis

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

How to use seaweed for mulch and fertilizer
September 24, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants,I live on the Peconic Bay, Greenport, Long Island. We have an oyster farm and lots of seaweed. I've read that seaweed was used on farms in the past as mulch (fertilizer?). ...
view the full question and answer

Verbena bonariensis won't bloom in Galveston, TX.
July 03, 2014 - My Verbena bonariensis is thriving, but never blooms. The plants look healthy, are about 6 feet tall and in full sun. The buds turn light purple but never open to flower. My neighbor's vb are ...
view the full question and answer

How to protect Columbine plants from Texas sun
May 12, 2015 - I planted some Red columbine seeds in October of last year and they are now doing well, roughly 6-inches tall. I believed I was planting them in mostly shade at the time; that area now seems to get 6+...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to salvias in Port Townsend WA
January 21, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We live in western Washington and had a multi-day hard freeze in December. Now, in mid-January, our salvia hot lips has no live leaves on it. The leaves that remain are green and...
view the full question and answer

Plants for under a fountain splash line in California
January 29, 2009 - What plants should we plant under our fountain's splash line in our Mediterranean style courtyard? The area will get wet from the fountain's splashing and have "full" sun. We are on a rock ridge...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center