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Friday - December 05, 2008

From: Wylie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Soils, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native flower bed with part sun
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have recently put in three small flower beds and replaced the hard clay with decent dirt. The site is shaded in the AM but mostly sun in the PM. I would like to plant natives - what can you recommend?

ANSWER:

We commend your replacing the clay with "decent" dirt. We hope that you have also incorporated some compost or other organic materials into that dirt. That will not only add nutrients to the soil, and make trace mineral nutrients available to the plant, but will help to both promote drainage and get water to the roots. If you haven't done that, we would suggest you do so before you plant. It's much easier than trying to repair a badly-draining area afterwards. And when you have finished planting, mulch the area with shredded hardwood mulch to protect the soil (and roots) from both heat and cold, to retain moisture and, as it decomposes, to continue improving the texture and drainage of the soil.

Now. we need to talk both about when to plant and what to plant. Wylie is apparently in USDA Hardiness Zone 7b, and has probably already passed its average first frost date, whether you have actually had a freeze or not. This is a good time to plant woody plants, such as shrubs and trees, while they are semi-dormant. This is not a particularly good time to plant perennials from root stock. They are best left undisturbed in the warm soil or greenhouse until the chance of frost is about over, probably early to mid-March in your part of the state. You didn't say how big the flower beds are, but you will probably want some variety in height, texture and color of plants in each bed, so we will recommend some shrubs that you can go ahead and get into the ground now or at least before the end of February, and then some perennials when there is a better chance they will not get frost-nipped. To give some more variety, we will also suggest some decorative grasses and cacti or succulents.

We are going to go to our Recomended Species section, click on North Central Texas on the map, and NARROW YOUR SEARCH to shrub for Habit, perennial for Duration, and part shade (which we define as 2 to 6 hours of sunlight daily) for Light Requirement.  We will repeat this using herb (herbaceous or flowering plant) for Habit for the spring planting.  You can do the same, adjusting for soil moisture, even asking for bloom time or color preferred. This is a fun thing to do while the weather is bad outside, you can garden on the computer, following the plant links to webpages with more information and further links to other help, like Google. When you are ready to purchase, you can go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in 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 usually have websites or other contact information, and you can check in advance on whether they have the plants you are interested in.

SHRUBS

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Hibiscus laevis (halberdleaf rosemallow)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

HERBS

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia)

GRASSES

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

CACTUS/SUCCULENTS

Yucca rupicola (Texas yucca)

Yucca pallida (twistleaf yucca)

 

 

 

 

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