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

Wednesday - March 12, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Native plants for highlights in a cactus garden
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm looking for some groundcover (succulents or herbs), shrubs, and other perennials to plant along with the cactuses (20 or so) I got from the CDRI plant sale in Fort Davis. The most important specification is that the plants should grow to be no 3.5 feet wide or 4 feet tall. Of course, if it's possible to occasionally prune it to these dimensions, and it looks fairly natural, I'm happy to consider the plant. (I'm really not a terribly active landscaper though.) Also, I'd like plants that are native (or, at the least, well-adapted) to the Trans-Pecos or Edwards Plateau areas. I'm pretty much already sold on the diamantina and blackfoot daisy, and would also like other suggestions that would bring color, smells, and wildlife to my cactus garden in the narrow strip between my sidewalk and the street. Note: My garden will be designed to be a well-drained area that is not watered very often.

ANSWER:

First of all, Mr. Smarty Plants suggests that you visit the Recommended Species page where you can select a list of Central Texas Recommended species or a list of West Texas Recommended species. Since your cactus garden is going to be in Austin, however, your best bet is to focus on those plants on the Central Texas Recommended species list. In some cases, the two lists will overlap.

Here are a few plants from the Central Texas Recommended list (and a couple not on it) that seem especially suitable to accompany the stars of your cactus garden:

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius (Berlandier's sundrops)

Chamaecrista fasciculata var. fasciculata (partridge pea)

Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena)

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)

Muhlenbergia reverchonii (seep muhly)

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Sedum nuttallianum (yellow stonecrop)

Senna roemeriana (twoleaf senna)

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa (stemmy four-nerve daisy)

 

From the Image Gallery


Berlandier's sundrops
Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius

Partridge pea
Chamaecrista fasciculata var. fasciculata

Texas lantana
Lantana urticoides

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Seep muhly
Muhlenbergia reverchonii

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Yellow stonecrop
Sedum nuttallianum

Twoleaf senna
Senna roemeriana

Four-nerve daisy
Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa

Zexmenia
Wedelia texana

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
April 09, 2010 - I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
view the full question and answer

Moving Century plants in Norwalk CA
September 15, 2009 - I have two large Century plants that are each 10 1/2 years old. One is 4'x5' tall and wide with about 8-10 small shoots. The smaller in about 3 1/2'x 5' with about 6 shoots. They've grown too l...
view the full question and answer

Growing Variegated Century Plants in Portugal
February 09, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, I am contacting you from Portugal, because of century plant(Agave americana). I had one of that plants and I collected the seeds, which I planted, but I am quite disappointed ...
view the full question and answer

Should an agave bloom stalk be cut as soon as it flowers from Corpus Christi TX
May 18, 2010 - My agave plant is flowering, with a stalk approaching 12 feet tall. Should that stalk be cut once it flowers? I am concerned about wind catching it and pulling the whole plant out of the ground. I ...
view the full question and answer

Preserving century plant bloom stalk from Sedona AZ
December 16, 2012 - I have the flower stalk from a century plant which I am using as a Christmas tree. Can you advise me as to what I should do to preserve it for future use? Should it be kept indoors or outdoors. Pro...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center