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

Wednesday - January 14, 2009

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Evergreen plants with showy flowers for pots in Central Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I'm looking for evergreen plants with showy flowers suitable for Central Texas. Plants need to do well in pots.. they will be planted in flower boxes in my very sunny porch. thanks!!!


Is this a test?  Slightly to our surprise we actually did find some plants that live up to your specified requirements. Some were not altogether reasonable, such as Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia). Evergreen, with glossy green leaves and big, white, fragrant flowers, it is unfortunately in the 72 to 100 foot class, and would probably not be suitable for a pot. So, scratch that.

We'll list the plants we found in two categories, and then give you the one that comes closest to filling the bill. We are recommending only plants native to Central Texas (with one exception, and it's close), because the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center promotes the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but the area in which they are being grown. Because native plants are already adapted to an area's rainfall, temperatures and soils, they will require less fertilizer, maintenance and water. These plants were all selected for full sun, which we regard as more than 6 hours of sunlight daily. You can follow the plant links to the individual webpage on each plant and find out its projected height, water needs, etc.


Ageratina havanensis (Havana snakeroot) - pink to white flowers, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, blooms October and November, but deciduous.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle) - Also called Flame Acanthus, blooms red, orange June to October, loved by hummingbirds, but deciduous.

Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow) - blooms pink April to November, but deciduous.

Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rosemallow) - Texas Star Hibiscus, but not really native to Texas. Native to Louisiana and other southern states, so that's close. Bright red blooms July to September, but dies back to ground in the Fall, will regrow from roots in Spring.

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - pink purple flowers, blloms April to September, but dies back to rosette in Fall.


Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita) - Evergreen but with lots of small flowers, aromatic foliage, blooms yellow April to September.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - Evergreen (or ever gray-green), beautiful pinky purple small blooms intermittently throughout the year, depending on rainfall.

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - Evergreen, blooms with daisy-like yellow flowers April to June.

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa (stemmy four-nerve daisy) - evergreen, lots of small yellow flowers virtually all year.

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia) - evergreen in southern part of range, blooms orange, yellow May to November.


Hibiscus martianus (heartleaf rosemallow) - large red flowers January to December if there is no frost. 

Magnolia grandiflora

Ageratina havanensis

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Pavonia lasiopetala

Hibiscus coccineus

Echinacea purpurea

Chrysactinia mexicana

Leucophyllum frutescens

Coreopsis lanceolata

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa

Wedelia texana

Hibiscus martianus






More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Backward blooming Jack-in-the-pulpit
April 18, 2008 - why does my jack in the pulpit plant bloom backwards
view the full question and answer

Stubs of Texas Star Hibiscus in Abilene, TX
March 26, 2009 - We have cut back our outdoor Texas Star Hibiscus for 4 years and now have a large number of old stubs that the new growth must navigate around. Will it kill the plant if we dig up the old stubs? At so...
view the full question and answer

Information about pink milkwort (Polygala incarnata)
June 07, 2008 - Why is the pink Milkwort (Polygala incarnata) and what is it's niche?
view the full question and answer

Green blooms on Cedar Sage in Lucas TX
September 22, 2010 - I have two Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana) one purchased from your plant sale and one from a local nursery planted in part shade in the Dallas area. They seem to be quite happy and are blooming but ...
view the full question and answer

Habitats of pitcher plants
October 16, 2005 - Where do pitcher plants live?
view the full question and answer

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