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
1 rating

Sunday - March 08, 2009

From: Killeen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Container plants for pool area in Killeen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in Central Texas (Killeen). We want to put some container plants around our pool. (backyard with pool is all cement). We want some larger stuff, like maybe bamboo, elephant ears, etc. What plants would do well in containers during our Texas summers and be able to survive our short, but sometimes icy winters? Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

First of all, we need to tell you that the focus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is on plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. Both Phyllostachys bambusoides (bamboo)  and Colocasia esculenta  (elephant ears) originated in temperate and tropical Asia. Bamboo is the fastest-growing plant in the world, and both plants are considered invasives. However, there are a number of plants native to Central Texas that would work very well around your pool.

We would first suggest reading our How-To Articles Using Native Plants  and then Container Gardening with Native Plants. We are going to go to our Recommended Species for Central Texas, and narrow our search first to "Shrubs" under Habit, and then "Herbs." On both of these, since you say your garden is cement, we are assuming the plants will get full sun all day, and will select for that in our searches. Some of the shrubs are deciduous, others evergreen or semi-evergreen, meaning they will retain most of their leaves in warmer parts of the country. The herbaceous flowering plants (herbs) will all die back in the winter. We have selected only perennials, which will come back in the Spring, and can be divided and transplanted. 

SHRUBS

Ageratina havanensis (Havana snakeroot) - deciduous 

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

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita) - evergreen

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood) - deciduous

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - evergreen

Salvia greggii (autumn sage) - semi-evergreen

Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow) - semi-evergreen

Tecoma stans (yellow trumpetbush) - semi-evergreen

HERBACEOUS PLANTS

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann's daisy)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)


Ageratina havanensis

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Chrysactinia mexicana

Eysenhardtia texana

Leucophyllum frutescens

Salvia greggii

Pavonia lasiopetala

Tecoma stans

Coreopsis lanceolata

Engelmannia peristenia

Lobelia cardinalis

Melampodium leucanthum

 

 


 

More Container Gardens Questions

Hanging basket container plants for butterflies and birds
April 08, 2010 - Looking for ideas for hanging baskets that would attract butterflies or birds for interest to a shut-in in North Texas. These would be outside of southwest-facing windows that overlook a paved parkin...
view the full question and answer

Container native plants for New York area
June 10, 2009 - I live near Lake Ontario (zip 14098). Would like to know what to plant in window boxes that have southern exposure and are in direct sun 4-6 hrs a day
view the full question and answer

Salt and wind tolerant plants for small containers in NC
July 28, 2010 - We need two plants that will go in raised planters. Will be in full sun with lots of wind. Salt water nearby. Will have to keep plants sorta short I guess. We cannot find anything, although we see...
view the full question and answer

Growing native vines in pots from Houston
May 28, 2012 - I am writing in regards to your often mentioned issue of plants not doing as well in pots and in the ground. After last years drought, i moved all the plants I had that were in danger of dying of t...
view the full question and answer

Loss of blooms in potted plants in Hawaii
November 11, 2007 - My lanai is in strong afternoon sun and no matter what "full sun" plants I try to grow they quickly stop blooming. Plumeria, Hibiscus, Echinacea, even Bougainvillea...they continue to grow but lose...
view the full question and answer

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