En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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)


Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Callicarpa americana

Conoclinium coelestinum

Hibiscus laevis

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Aquilegia canadensis

Asclepias tuberosa

Echinacea purpurea

Lobelia cardinalis

Melampodium leucanthum

Salvia roemeriana

Wedelia texana

Bouteloua curtipendula

Yucca rupicola

Yucca pallida

 

 

 

 

More Planting Questions

Redoing garden in Memphis TN
July 25, 2011 - Please help. I don't know much about landscaping and plants and I am re-doing my flower bed. I recently had everything pulled out and I want to start fresh. The area that I will be working with is ap...
view the full question and answer

Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
November 29, 2009 - Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.
view the full question and answer

Propagation information from Queens NY
October 04, 2012 - Hello. I would appreciate information on when to plant the following plants. I found on the USDA website that all these plants could withstand the cold. ALthough they can withstand harsh weather, ...
view the full question and answer

Planting petunias around base of oak tree from Houma LA
March 30, 2013 - I live in south Louisiana and I want to plant petunias. Can I plant petunias around the base of an oak tree?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting hackberry trees in Texas
September 17, 2008 - I live N of Ft Worth,Tx is there a trick to digging up & transplanting hackberry trees?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center