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 Container Gardens Questions

Chile pequin from Spring Plant Sale in Austin
June 08, 2011 - Re: chile pequin purchased at your Spring 2011 sale: it grows, seems to thrive, but sets no flowers and so bears no fruit. It's in terracotta in Ladybug potting soil, on a shady apartment patio. How ...
view the full question and answer

Potted Plumbago, struggling with the heat, in Spring Texas
June 29, 2011 - Why do some of the leaves of my plumbagos that are grown in large, well-draining planters turn brown? The brown starts on the tips, then extends to the whole leaf. They get several hours of west aft...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a summer through winter blooming container plant, for Phoenix.
October 28, 2010 - I'm in Phoenix. I'm looking for a perennial plant that will be planted in a container in a commercial setting, that is under a shaded pergola. She wants it to bloom in the winter and if carried int...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Blue Cohosh
April 21, 2005 - I acquired a potted plant of Blue Cohosh at a sale. My question is where can I plant it? I live in Seattle but also garden in Zone 5 at Lake Wenatchee Washington. Shade or sun? How hardy is it? ...
view the full question and answer

Planting Texas Persimmon in enclosed planter from San Angelo TX
May 23, 2013 - I want to plant a Texas Persimmon (in West Texas) in an enclosed planter 4' X 4' X 2.5' deep. What would be a good planting medium. Does it need to be deeper?
view the full question and answer

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