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

Tuesday - March 10, 2009

From: Aledo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native plants for flower beds in Aledo, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have 2 beds that together run the length of the house foundation (25' each), we have 2 spots I would like to plant a Yaupon (Pride of Houston) in each spot approximately 2' from the foundation;is this a bad idea? Also, I have some Dwarf Yaupons and Dwarf Wax Myrtles to plant every 5' or so, what else would you recommend to plant between and in front of these? The site has Filtered Sun for 4-5 hours, heavy clay soil that I plan to amend with Silver Creek Materials 40% sand 60% compost topsoil mix.

ANSWER:

Your plant choices all sound good, they are all native and can all survive in the limited sunlight. They will probably not grow as fast as they would in more sun, but they should be fine. The soil amendment of your heavy clay soil is also a good idea. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends only plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. Native plants, being accustomed to the climate, moisture and soils in which they are growing, will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. 

In terms of spacing, although the yaupon roots would probably not be strong enough to do any harm to your foundation, 2' still seems a little close. As the plant matures, it will expand its circumference, and it should do better given a little more distance from the building, if that is practical. Rather than plant anything in between the dwarf shrubs, you might consider planting perennial herbaceous flowering plants in front of them. This will give some color and variety to your garden. The flowering plants will mostly die back to the ground in the Winter, but you have the structure of the evergreen plants to maintain interest during that time.  For additional interest, especially in the first year (perennials often don't bloom until the second year), you could add some bright annuals, selecting for different times of bloom. We are going to go to our Recommended Species section, click on North Central Texas on the map, and then Narrow Your Search first for "herbs" (herbaceous flowering plants) under Habit, perennial for duration, and part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun daily) for Light Requirements. We will repeat the process, changing only the duration to "annual." You can follow the same procedure to make your own selections. Follow the plant link to each individual plant page to learn the colors of blooms, height the plant is expected to grow and the months they ordinarily bloom.

These plants are all commercially available, and you can go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state into the "Enter Search Location" and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape and environment consultants in your general area.

PERENNIAL BLOOMING PLANTS FOR NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Salvia azurea (azure blue sage)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia)

ANNUAL BLOOMING PLANTS FOR NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS

Amblyolepis setigera (huisache daisy)

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia (tanseyleaf tansyaster)

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)


Aquilegia canadensis

Asclepias tuberosa

Conoclinium coelestinum

Echinacea purpurea

Melampodium leucanthum

Salvia azurea

Wedelia texana

Amblyolepis setigera

Coreopsis tinctoria

Eryngium leavenworthii

Gaillardia pulchella

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Monarda citriodora

Phlox drummondii

Rudbeckia hirta

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants to hide utility boxes
July 16, 2008 - What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergree...
view the full question and answer

Arisaema triphyllum and Phlox stolonifera native to Pennsylvania
April 03, 2008 - I asked and you answered my question about PA wildflowers. I have two more questions: is jack-in-the-pulpit a native PA wildflower? and is creeping white phlox a native PA wildflower?
view the full question and answer

Care for indoor ivy from Carollton TX
January 26, 2012 - I have an indoor ivy that is on a pole. The pole is breaking, and I need to separate the ivy from the pole with the least amount of trauma to the plant. How should I do this? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Transplanting trilliums in dormancy in Michigan
February 15, 2006 - I live in Michigan. I have a Trillium in my yard and we are having a new septic field put in. I need to know if I can save the whole plant and can I keep it in the house or do I just need the bulb a...
view the full question and answer

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
view the full question and answer

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