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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - October 23, 2008

From: Smithville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflower Center, Container Gardens, Compost and Mulch, Transplants
Title: Potting soil used in Wildflower Center nursery
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Sean Watson

QUESTION:

I recently purchased several beautiful little plants at your Fall plant sale and notice how very happy and healthy they all are! Please tell me if you mix your own potting soil and what your potting mixture consists of. Also, do you use different mixtures for the different types of plants you grow? Thanks for this wonderful resource!

ANSWER:

We e-mailed the nursery manager at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Sean Watson, and got this immediate response:

We use the Gardenville "Container Mix" right now (Texas Disposal Systems produces the stuff). It is good compost pure and simple. It also has composted pecan hulls that help it to drain better, not become too compact (adds texture), and adds nutrients over time. We used to use Nature's Way Resources out of Conroe, TX, which I thought was a better compost, especially for containers (50% composted leaf mold, 50% composted hardwood mulch), but we decided to try this mix because it costs half as much and is local versus the gas we purchased for the trip from Conroe for the other. Just tryin' to lower our carbon footprint. We use it for all species, but sometimes cut it with sand for more xeric plants. Using compost also means less watering than with our previous mix (holds water more effectively).

Sean and his crew of staff and volunteers is an outstanding reason why our Plant Sales are so successful, and we thank you very much for your kind words. 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Planting from pots in summer in Austin
July 01, 2009 - It's the last week in June and temperatures are going to be at 100 or more all week. I've some plants that I'm wondering about transplanting to an exposed site in this heat: muhlenbergeria lindheim...
view the full question and answer

Advisability of landscape cloth in native gardens
July 18, 2007 - Is the use of landscape cloth healthy or unhealthy in native gardens?
view the full question and answer

Perennial blooming plants for Ashland MO
April 02, 2010 - I am beginning to create a flower bed in front of my house, I do not have a green thumb so I want to know what plants would come back yearly and I can plant now in Mid Missouri?
view the full question and answer

My newly planted Mountain Laurel isn\'t doing well.
March 13, 2009 - My mountain laurel was planted from a container in Dec. It is in part sun, clay soil, and its leaves are turning yellow. should I move it or will that kill it?
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing vine for cinder block wall in Albuquerque
July 26, 2010 - I live in Albuquerque, N.M. and have a cement/cinder block wall and was wondering if there is a vine I can plant which will be easy to grow, grow fast and cover my wall without any type of help like a...
view the full question and answer

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