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

Saturday - June 07, 2008

From: South Padre Island, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Cacti and Succulents, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Landscaping on South Padre Island
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, but don't know where to start. Can you give us some suggestions? We owners thank you!

ANSWER:

This is a challenge, because it's a fairly unique environment. We went to our Recommended Species, clicked on South Texas, and then searched on grasses. shrubs, cacti and succulents, shrubs and trees. We were looking for fibrous roots that would grip the sandy soil, tolerance of calcium carbonate (which is found in rock, but also main component of shells of marine organisms), preference for sandy soil and capable of growing in Cameron County's USDA Hardiness Zone, which is 9b to 10. We feel your best bet is going to be grasses-if it gets too windy, they just bend over, they don't have to be mowed, they are usually attractive year-round with very little care, and they definitely will contribute to holding the soil. We also found a few taller, more substantial plants that have a good chance of doing well there. We found a website from the Virginia Cooperative Extension on Trees and Shrubs that Tolerate Saline Soils and Salt Spray Drift. It has some good suggestions on ways to protect plantings from salt spray and also lists some plants that tolerate salt spray. Unfortunately, many of them are non-natives of North America, not to mention South Texas. But perhaps it will give you some ideas on placement of the plants you select.

Some of the descriptions on the webpages linked to the plant Latin names (below) actually mention toleration of salinity, but not many. Hopefully, if you contact the Texas Cooperative Extension Office, Cameron County, they will have better local information on plants that will grow in those conditions. When you are ready to start selecting plants, go to our native plant Suppliers site, enter your town and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape consultants in your general area. They also should be in a good position to advise you on the best plants for your locale.

GRASSES

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

SHRUBS

Cordia boissieri (anacahuita)

Ebenopsis ebano (Texas ebony)

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood)

CACTI/SUCCULENTS

Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca)

TREES

Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia)

Sabal mexicana (Rio Grande palmetto)

 


Andropogon gerardii

Andropogon glomeratus

Bouteloua curtipendula

Eragrostis spectabilis

Sorghastrum nutans

Chasmanthium latifolium

Cordia boissieri

Ebenopsis ebano

Eysenhardtia texana

Hesperaloe parviflora

Acacia farnesiana

Sabal mexicana

 








 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants for a Shady Woodland in MA
June 09, 2013 - Hello, I am looking for natives to plant in full shade or part shade. My house is in the mountain woodland area of Mt. Washington, MA. I am looking for grasses, flowers and shrubs. Also I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for flowers in rocky area in Ohio
March 07, 2008 - We have just built 4 raised beds on a slope in our backyard on Scioto River. The site is an old quarry so rocky soil below our raised beds & gets full sun majority of day from about 11am-7pm summer ti...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on Jack in the Pulpit in Loda IL
July 07, 2009 - I live in central Illinois and have a Jack in the Pulpit in a pot, in a shady location, under an oak tree and the soil seems to be moist. The leaves are turning yellow at the edges. Help, please. Th...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

Texas native plants for cemetery site
February 09, 2005 - I am trying to landscape my mothers gravesite located in far East Texas (just outside of Nacogdoches) and I am looking for some evergreen bushes or any other decorative plants for that area. I am thi...
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