Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 21, 2008

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rare or Endangered Plants, Compost and Mulch, Trees
Title: Native plants for Pflugerville, TX in blackland soil
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Mr. S-P, I'm perusing the plant sale list for a couple of tall shrubs to plant on the sunny southwest side of my house, in Blackland soil. It is generally dry there because of the sun, but can get soggy from roof runoff in a monsoon such as last summer's. I have lost both rhus virens and cenizo in that location from too much rain. Well-established in that bed are rhus aromatica, lonicera sempervirens, ilex decidua, Eysenhardtia texana, salvia greggii, and muhlenbergia dubia (it's a long, narrow space). I am considering Philadelphus ernestii, Bauhinia lunarioides, Cercocarpus montanus, Cordia boissier, or Mimosa borealis. The location has morning shade, hot mid-day sun, and a little shade in the very late afternoon. If I build the soil up and incorporate granite sand, would I have luck with any of the above-listed plants? I want something at least 4 feet tall.

ANSWER:

Thank you for being interested in our annual Plant Sale and for going so far as to research the plants on sale. Generally speaking, you can count on the plants sold there doing okay in this area. That's what we specialize in at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center sales, plants that we know can be grown here because they ARE being grown here. We do understand your considering adding something like granite sand or decomposed granite to the soil, as all these plants seem to be found in nature in rocky, limestone areas. Obviously, you need to amend the soil or raise the level of the bed for drainage from your roof. You might consider that those plants grow where they do in the wild because that's what there is, rocky soil. They all need good drainage, true, but perhaps raising the level of the bed, and adding compost for drainage might be just as effective. Another suggestion is just not to try raising plants that are basically desert plants in an area that is going to get drenched when there is rain, like we had last year, or at least installing some guttering.

Philadelphus ernestii (canyon mock orange) In the wild, this plant is considered rare and needing protection. It will adapt to different conditions, but does need some shade and a protected location.

Bauhinia lunarioides (Texasplume) This plant is rare in the wild in Texas; it is winter hardy in Austin but farther north needs to be planted in a protected, south-facing location.

Cercocarpus montanus (alderleaf mountain mahogany) This is considered a Chihuahuan desert plant, but apparently can adapt to different conditions.

Cordia boissieri (anacahuita) This is rarely found in the wild, but is considered a good flowering tree to have in the landscape near a house, as its roots are not too intrusive. The fruit attracts birds and other wildlife, but is not recommended for human consumption.

Mimosa borealis (fragrant mimosa) Grows in the brushy, limestone areas of the Trans-Pecos.

 

 

 

 

More Rare or Endangered Plants Questions

Storm damage to native sweet bay magnolias in Kentucky
February 04, 2009 - Can you please share information on storm damage to sweet bay magnolias; if the top is broken off can the tree maintain its natural shape or will the sides begin to grow more than the top; i.e., growt...
view the full question and answer

Looking for crowsfoot and standing spruce for Christmas wreaths in Maryland
November 15, 2011 - Hi, When I was a young child, my family would go out in the fall to pick two different plants for making Christmas wreaths. I recently found them on the farm across the street and want to make wreaths...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

How rare is the Devil's Cigar Fungus (Chorioactis geaster)?
November 08, 2009 - I have found a fungus called devil's cigar in the woods behind my house in Westlake Hills Texas. I read that it is rare. Is it considered rare even to Central Texas? If so, do I need to let someone k...
view the full question and answer

Location of Agalinis acuta, sandplain gerardia.
September 12, 2009 - Where can the sandplain gerardia be found?
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.