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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - December 14, 2008

From: Denton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shade Tolerant, Ferns, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plant that can move from outside to inside for Denton, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I am looking for a plant that is either native to Texas or is well acclimated to the Denton TX area that can move from a covered outside area to an adjacent indoor area behind large glass walls, to a climate controlled area. I am looking for a seamless look but am aware of the difference in conditions, any ideas for me?


If we understand you correctly, you are looking for a plant that can live outside in warm weather and be moved indoors in cold weather, and looks like it belongs either place. We are assuming that this plant is to be in a large pot. If this is a correct assumption, we would like to refer you to our How-To Article Container Gardening with Native Plants. If it is to be in a covered outside area and moved to an indoor area, it would appear it needs to be a shade-tolerant plant. And if you want year-round appearance to be the same, it will need to be an evergreen perennial. You didn't say what size you were thinking of, but if you are, indeed, planning to move it back and forth you will need to consider size and weight of the pot that will be required. This turns out to be trickier than we first thought. We searched our Native Plant Database for plants that would survive in both situations (indoors and out) and remain evergreen, as you probably do not want bare branches in your indoor situation.

Paxistima myrsinites (Oregon boxleaf) - evergreen shrub, slow-growing, to 4' tall

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) - evergreen shrub or small tree, 5 to 10 ft. tall

Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair) - evergreen fern

We thought originally that the ferns would be ideal; however, all but the one we listed turned out to be deciduous. If we have misunderstood your specifications for this plant, please get back to us and we will try again. It would appear that you may need to rethink your requirements. Since at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are committed to the use and preservation of plants native to North America and to the area in which they will be planted, we would not recommend any non-native tropicals that might be able to adjust to your conditions.

Paxistima myrsinites

Sabal minor

Sabal minor

Adiantum capillus-veneris





More Ferns Questions

Plants for streambank area in Oregon
September 14, 2012 - I am ready to replant a streambank area with native plants..what do you recommend for the Willamette Valley in Oregon? Thanks much!
view the full question and answer

Identity of a fern-like plant in Nashville TN.
July 30, 2009 - There is a fern like plant that is growing in partial sun in my front yard. It closes and opens with the sun. Its leaves are lacy and long; so far no flowers. I have pictures but not for this format...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under Spruces from West Chester PA
December 06, 2012 - Trying to get a native groundcover (or any grass/wildflower/fern) planting established under a small stand of spruces. Established stand (30+ years old), so lots of needles on ground. Just about tot...
view the full question and answer

Calcium from Eggshells for Ferns?
December 15, 2014 - I was reading recently about beneficial additions to the soil/plant. The first was about soaking used egg shells overnight and then pouring the water onto ferns. They said that the calcium in eggshell...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent creekside erosion in Nacogdoches County, Texas
December 09, 2014 - I am looking for some advice on plants native to Texas that can help prevent erosion. I own a wooded lot with a creek and would like to consolidate the sides of the creek against potential erosion. I...
view the full question and answer

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