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
1 rating

Thursday - March 26, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Flowering annuals for Dallas TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


1. What Non-wildflower flowers (flowers that WILL bloom first year/within first 2-3 months after plant seeds)are recommended for Dallas, TX area that could tolerate part-shade, part-sun area? 2. What flowers in #1 are more aphid-resistant, easier to deal with/grow? I will put them near vegetables and I don't want them to attract aphids or other bugs that could infest my vegetable plants as I don't use insecticides.


We're not quite sure what you mean by non-wildflower flowers, especially since we originate from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. We are dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. In your case, this would mean blooming annuals native to North Central Texas, some of which you can purchase from nurseries as bedding plants, but even more of which are seen in the fields around Texas blooming wild and reseeding themselves from year to year. Same flowers, different location. We will be happy to provide you with a list of these annuals, for sun to part shade, and when you follow the plant link to the page on each individual plant, you can find out how they are propagated (usually by seed), get propagation instructions, bloom time, etc. If the seed pods are left on them to dry, they will reseed themselves, or you can gather and dry seeds and replant them at the same time they would drop their seeds naturally, usually fall in Texas. If you have difficulty in locating these seeds or plants, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, enter your town and state, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies, and landscape and environment consultants in your general area. They all have contact information, including maps, websites and/or phone numbers so you can check on availability of the plants you are interested in. 

Referring to your second question, if studies have been made of which Texas annual blooming plants attracted or repelled aphids, we are not aware of it. In fact, we couldn't find much of anything on any plants, native or not, having that quality. However, you are already taking an important step in keeping the aphid population down by avoiding insecticides, which will kill the predator insects, like certain wasps and ladybugs, while the fast-proliferating aphids continue to flourish. This website from the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program on Aphids has a number of non-chemical controls to suggest for aphids.


Amblyolepis setigera (huisache daisy)

Centaurea americana (American star-thistle)

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo)

Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum (showy prairie gentian)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet)

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia (tanseyleaf tansyaster)

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Thelesperma filifolium (stiff greenthread)

Amblyolepis setigera

Centaurea americana

Coreopsis tinctoria

Eryngium leavenworthii

Eustoma exaltatum ssp. russellianum

Gaillardia pulchella

Lupinus texensis

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Monarda citriodora

Phlox drummondii

Rudbeckia hirta

Thelesperma filifolium







More Wildflowers Questions

Germinating Penstemon tenuis, Monarda citriodora and Machaeranthera tanacetifolia Seed
June 03, 2013 - I am a graduate student at Texas Tech (UT Austin alumni), studying horticulture. I will be researching several wildflowers found in west Texas including Penstemon tenuis, Monarda citriodora, and Macha...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a wedding site
November 11, 2007 - My fiance and I would like to get married on his family's ranch, just north of Johnson City on the Pedernales river, in April of 2009. Currently, we are clearing the over-grown meadows of cactus and ...
view the full question and answer

Native Plant Suggestions for Dripping Springs
August 02, 2011 - I have a very dry commercial property in Dripping Springs TX where the dry sand/dust isn't a good rain conductor (whenever we get rain). What can we plant there? We have no irrigation and use a rai...
view the full question and answer

Control of grasses in wildflower gardening
July 27, 2006 - We have been trying to manage and grow a plot of wildflowers in Madisonville, Texas just east of Bryan / College Station on a charity organizations site for 3 years with some success. The grasses have...
view the full question and answer

Can Texas bluebonnets grow in Reynoldsburg Ohio?
May 03, 2010 - I am a transplanted Texan now living in Central Ohio. I am tired of having to accept only pictures of the bluebonnets growing along the highways in Texas now and want to know if the weather is suitab...
view the full question and answer

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