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?


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

Wednesday - March 19, 2008

From: Longview, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Native plants for city lot in Longview, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Just bought a city lot in Longview, TX and want to put in some plants at the periphery even before the house is built. Can you recommend any that would be from your list of East TX plants that are particularly hardy and that are suitable for wildlife farming, please?


Before we even begin recommending native plants for your area, we want to caution you about doing any landscaping or planting before construction begins. We don't know the size of your property or the size of the building to go on it, but we can guarantee you that trucks, workmen, supplies, waste, etc. will be all over everywhere, once construction begins. There are a lot of chemicals used in various aspects of contruction, concrete is often mixed on-site, and heavy equipment comes and goes. Plus, your site is going to need a certain amount of grading and leveling, both for the stability of the foundation and for drainage. The guy driving the front-end loader or the bulldozer may mean well, but plants are mostly just in their way. We realize that it would be lovely to build a house and move into it with the landscape already well underway; however, we just don't think it is practical. Please refer to this article on Plan It, Dig It, Build It! for cautions and advice on preparation for construction.

So, whether you do it now or do it later, here are some suggestions for flowering perennials, shrubs and trees for your area. We went to our "Recommended Species" section, selected East Texas, and then clicked on "Narrow Your Search" and specified State (Texas), Habit (herb or flowering plants), Duration (perennial), Sun (6 or more hours of sun a day) and Soil Moisture (dry). This gave us this list of 14 appropriate flowering perennials for your area. We used the same technique for shrubs and trees. You can vary this list to your own tastes and requirements by checking different sun exposures and soil moisture for each type of plant. When you follow the links below to webpages on each plant, you can learn how tall they will grow, how they propagate, colors and bloom times, etc.

Many of these plants serve as food or shelter sources for wildlife.

Flowering Plants (herbs)

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)


Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum)


Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Fraxinus americana (white ash)

Ilex verticillata (common winterberry)

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak)

Achillea millefolium

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Monarda fistulosa

Lantana urticoides

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Rhus glabra

Viburnum acerifolium

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Fraxinus americana

Ilex verticillata

Quercus macrocarpa




More Shrubs Questions

Stress in potted Tif blueberry plants
August 15, 2008 - Recently purchased Tif Blue Blueberry plants (about 3 ft tall)are showing signs of stress. They are in 10 gallon pots. Should they be transplanted? Medium? Fertilizer? Location? Trimming?
view the full question and answer

Leaf loss on Cenizo in Bertram TX
November 17, 2009 - I need help with a purple sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) problem. Most of one of my plants started having paler, more greyish leaves, then the leaves began to fall off. It seemed to still look healthy...
view the full question and answer

Moving a volunteer holly from Springfield IL
October 11, 2010 - When would be the very best time to move a volunteer holly? I would say it is 3 years old, it stands about 5 feet tall, shaped like a very nice tree and it keeps its leaves. Thank you. Karen
view the full question and answer

Plants for underneath oak tree
October 10, 2012 - I have a North facing wall of my house that gets half sunlight half shade depending on the season. I would like to layout some native South Texas plants and complete fill in area to prevent the live o...
view the full question and answer

Esperanza failing to bud out in Georgetown TX
March 28, 2010 - I planted esperanza shrubs last summer and they did well. I did not prune them back in the winter. They are not showing any signs of life (No greenery) Will the plants start to form leaves and flow...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center