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

Sunday - February 01, 2009

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Companion plant for columbine in Summer
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Please suggest a companion plant for Texas columbine that will hide them when they are ragged in summer but won't interfere with their seeding out to make new plants.

ANSWER:

Rather than a companion "plant," how about "plants?" It's always a gamble to depend on just one plant to serve a particular purpose. In this case, we suggest finding a selection of annual and perhaps perennial flowering plants that will bloom and flourish at different times than the Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine). The columbine is a short-lived perennial which will reseed itself, given the time to recuperate in dormancy during the hot summer. It can take sun to shade, but does best in partial shade.  This particular species blooms in April and May. We're going to go to our Recommended Species section, click on Central Texas on the map, and NARROW YOUR SEARCH by selecting "Herb" under Habit, and part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) for light requirements. By not checking anything under Duration, we will get plants that are both annual and perennial. If your sun exposure in that area is different, or you have a special soil moisture situation, you can use the same technique to find other plants more suitable.  Follow the plant link to each individual plant page to find color, size, etc.  that will help you choose the best one for your situation.

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) - perennial, blooms May to September

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower) - perennial, blooms July to November

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - perennial, blooms April to September

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) - annual, blooms May to August

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia (tanseyleaf tansyaster) - perennial, blooms March to November

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) - perennial, blooms March to November

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) - annual, blooms February to October


Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

Asclepias tuberosa

Conoclinium coelestinum

Echinacea purpurea

Gaillardia pulchella

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Melampodium leucanthum

Salvia coccinea

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
January 11, 2009 - I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control for a NC Clay Slope
June 06, 2013 - Hi, We have a large slope on the road edge of our property that has been gradually eroding with spring rains (NC red clay). We would really like to plant something for erosion control but the bank is...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Simsia calva from Albuquerque NM
January 27, 2014 - Hi - I was given some simsia calva seed from the LBJ wildflower center. It doesn't have a lot of info about starting the seeds, so any help is much appreciated! I tried starting some outdoors last ye...
view the full question and answer

Looking for plants for phytoremediation in Columbus, TX
May 27, 2015 - Hello! I am looking for native Texan phytodegrading/rhizodegrading plants (basically I want phytoremediating plants that could be left in place and not have to be removed/disposed of after they had ta...
view the full question and answer

Plants for full sun and clay soil in NY
May 06, 2008 - We live in upstate new york( zone 5) with full sun and clay soil. What flowers/flowering shrubs would be successful in this environment?
view the full question and answer

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