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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 07, 2008

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Combining yellow columbine and Malvaviscus arboreus
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can yellow columbine coexist peacefully with Malvaviscus arboreus? I have a nice stand of the former and would like to plant the latter to take over when the columbine starts to look ratty in the heat. Would one bully the other out of the garden?

ANSWER:

Well, in our not so expert opinion, we'd be rooting for the columbine and betting on the Turk's cap.

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine) is probably the columbine best able to withstand Texas heat. It blooms in April and May, and needs some shade to survive. It is a short-lived perennial, but can renew itself by seeding out. Malvaviscus arboreus (wax mallow), commonly called Turk's cap because of the shape of the bloom, also needs some shade, and blooms in July, August and September.

Our experience with Hinckley's columbine was that it would reseed for a couple of years, and then kind of disappear, and it had a bed of its own. On the other hand, when we planted some Turk's cap for the hummingbirds (who will kill for it), it bloomed a lot more than 3 months, and became a monster to beat back. It gets pretty ratty, too, from insect damage and just general summer droopiness, dies back to the ground in winter, and looks really bad, requiring severe cutting back of dead stems, and then comes roaring back. If you were thinking of planting them both in the same bed, letting one bloom while the other rests, that might not work too well. If you were particularly fond of the columbine, we would suggest planting it, in small clumps, in a mixed bed of annuals and perennials that are a little kinder and gentler. With planning, you could probably have color and bloom nine or ten months of the year, and the space where the columbine was drooping would not be so noticeable.


Malvaviscus arboreus

Malvaviscus arboreus

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers for color year round
May 02, 2007 - I have the opportunity to recommend plants for a religious organization. They want YEAR ROUND color in some areas, much like how commercial sites use annual color. I would like to suggest native/ada...
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
view the full question and answer

Care for some non-native salvias from Austin
November 12, 2012 - Mexican bush sage and Salvia "indigo spires" are both blooming in my Austin beds right now. Once they stop blooming and/or frost gets them, could you tell me by how much they should be cut back? R...
view the full question and answer

Mealy blue sage drooping from Canyon Lake TX
May 07, 2013 - Mealy Blue Sage @ 4 ft Tall - Planted three Mealy Blue Sage last year and they topped out at 2 ft tall. This year they are 4 ft tall in early May, and many of the stems are growing near horizontal...
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