En Español

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

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
1 rating

Tuesday - April 22, 2008

From: Killeen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Native plants for containers
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have found the website very helpful, but have a few questions of my own. I recently purchased the winecup plant, phlox and cedar sage perennials. I have planted them in potting containers with miracle grow potting soil. I have read afterwards that they grow in rocky soil. Will these plants do well in pots? If not can you recommend some good native plants that do well in pots. I have two basset hounds that love to play in my flower beds, so I have reverted to planting in containers.


Are you kidding? Those plants would be tap dancing, if they had tap shoes. The native plants of this area often grow in rocks because that's what there is. Those rocks still have to have some soil around them, and when you put a native plant into a lovely potting soil, with its own uncrowded space and good drainage, it will flourish. Read this How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants to find out more about how to plant and what to plant. We took some of the plants you mentioned, all Texas natives, and added a few more, mostly succulents that will do well in containers.

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage)

Manfreda maculosa (spice lily)

Manfreda sileri (Siler's tuberose) - Images

Sedum nanifolium (dwarf stonecrop)

Sedum pulchellum (widowscross)

Echinocereus reichenbachii (lace hedgehog cactus)

Callirhoe involucrata

Phlox drummondii

Salvia roemeriana

Manfreda maculosa

Sedum nanifolium

Sedum pulchellum

Echinocereus reichenbachii







More Container Gardens Questions

Bluebonnets in pots in New Caney, TX
April 25, 2009 - My mother in New Caney (Texas), would like to plant Bluebonnets in some lovely terra cotta containers on her porch (and will hopefully mail me some dried pressings of my beloved state flower). Other t...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for poolside in Central Texas
August 21, 2010 - What native plants would your recommend for poolside landscaping, and poolside containers? Tons of sun and white limestone patio.. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Mites in soil of house plants
June 25, 2008 - Hi there! I recently noticed tiny silver mites in the soil of my plants that I only notice after watering. These plants are indoors in on a window ledge (a dwarf palm, aloe plant and Hawaiian Scheffle...
view the full question and answer

Vine for trellis in Brooklyn, New York
June 11, 2014 - Hello, I am looking for a native vine to grow on a trellis in a large container. I live in Brooklyn, NY, and the area is in part shade. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Sides for raised gardens
May 01, 2008 - I am wanting to put in raised gardens. What is the best product for the sides? Wood? If so, what kind? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center