Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Plant ID at Wildflower Center from Waco TX
June 18, 2012 - I was at the Center last weekend and no one was able to answer these two questions: 1. Where can I buy Silver Ponyfoot groundcover? 2. What is the name of the plant with coral blossoms in front of...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for a wedding in Memphis MO
October 13, 2009 - I am pretty new at this landscaping flower thing, but I love it. We just moved out to the country in NE Missouri from Colorado (Huge difference, but love it). We have decided to have our wedding at o...
view the full question and answer

Turf grass for part-time home from Louisville KY
April 28, 2012 - We have a small yard at a remote location with cistern water, and need a turf grass for a yard, clay soil, which I am willing to amend. It will receive sporadic attention as my husband and I do not l...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants with showy flowers for pots in Central Texas
January 14, 2009 - I'm looking for evergreen plants with showy flowers suitable for Central Texas. Plants need to do well in pots.. they will be planted in flower boxes in my very sunny porch. thanks!!!
view the full question and answer

Stopping erosion on bank of a Florida retention pond
July 21, 2015 - I live on a retention pond, which has had all vegetation killed by the lake doctor. As a result the bank has eroded so there is a drop off directly to the water rather than a sloping bank. What plan...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.