Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Sunday - July 13, 2008

From: Odem, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native plants that are dog-proof in South Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Odem, Texas and would like to use only native plants in my front and backyard. I have two puppies who love to dig. What plants should I use that require minimal attention from me and will not be destroyed by my animals?

ANSWER:

If you ever find some plants like that, we'd like to know what they are. The problem is that even sturdy, damage-resistant flowers or grasses or shrubs start out as little plants that need to be protected, watered and their roots left undisturbed. And, new plants are going to require more than minimal attention under any circumstances. Even grasses like buffalograss will tend to get weedy when they are newly planted, and certainly couldn't withstand puppy feet. We are going to suggest that you designate a portion of your yard to be puppyland, and a portion to be garden. If someone were going to be outside with the dogs all the time, and training them not to dig or chew on the plants, that might work. But if the yard is doggy domain, then just about anything but already-established shrubs and trees are going to be doomed. So, we're going to leave animal control to you, and suggest some native plants for your part of Texas. You can go to the individual webpage for each plant and find out if it suits your purposes. We don't know what sun exposure you will be dealing with, or how moist your soil is, so those are considerations when you look at the information. And you must also be sure that anything chosen for puppyland be non-toxic. Unless the dogs are constantly supervised, they are going to chew on things, and a number of popular garden plants are poisonous in all or some of their parts. We are going to go to Recommended Species, click on South Texas on the map, and select a few each of herbaceous perennials, shrubs and grasses that will work in that part of the state.

When you make some selections, you can go to Suppliers for a list of native plant suppliers. In the Enter Search Location box, type your town and state and you will get a list of seed companies, nurseries and landscape consultants in your general area.

HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS

Hibiscus martianus (heartleaf rosemallow) - 1 to 3' tall, depending on moisture, blooms all year in non-frost areas

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) - 2 to 5' tall, sun to part shade, blooms May to September

Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage) - 2 to 3' tall, sun, blooms April to October

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia) - 8" to 3' tall, sun to part shade

SHRUBS

Cordia boissieri (anacahuita) - shrub or small tree, blooms all year, sun to part shade

Ebenopsis ebano (Texas ebony) - 25' shrub or small tree, blooms June to August

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) - 6 ti 12' tall, blooms May to October, sun

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - 2 to ' tall, blooms all year, sun to part shade

GRASSES

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) - turf, can be mowed, sun to part shade

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) - 1 to 3' tall, part shade

VINES

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) - sun to part shade

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) - sun to part shade


Hibiscus martianus

Monarda fistulosa

Salvia farinacea

Wedelia texana

Cordia boissieri

Ebenopsis ebano

Eysenhardtia texana

Leucophyllum frutescens

Bouteloua dactyloides

Nolina texana

Bignonia capreolata

Lonicera sempervirens

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Die-off of Texas bluebells
June 04, 2008 - I live in southeast Travis County east of IH35 in the Blackland Prairie. We have a gorgeous stand of Texas bluebells. Last year, the bluebells would look fine, then they would turn brown and die for...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with aphids on milkweed plants in Alloway, NJ.
July 11, 2012 - I planted milk weed for the Monarch butterfly. Every year it gets orange aphids that seem to suck out the juices and eventually kill the plant sooner than I like.
view the full question and answer

Cutting back achillea in New York
March 18, 2009 - Last summer I planted three gorgeous hearty achillea with flat, yellow tops, about 3 feet high or more each, in my sunny garden. But after they were done flowering, I left those very pretty brown stem...
view the full question and answer

Is Scutellaria suffrutescens native to Texas from San Marcos TX
May 02, 2012 - Is Scutellaria suffrutescens (Pink skullcap) a Texas native? I have found many conflicting answers and even seen it called Texas skullcap on sites that say it's native to Mexico. We will consider you...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of coreopsis
July 16, 2008 - Hi, 2 things..asked a question last yr re: scuttelaria (sp)-purple etc..you could not locate. Finally did at High Country Gardens in NM. Now a new question: Cannot get my coreopsis to bloom.. Have di...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.