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

Wednesday - April 15, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Heirloom plants for Gault Homestead in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, The Gault Homestead at 2106 Klattenhoff in the middle of Wells Branch Subdivision is to be planted with heirloom or heritage plants soon. There is some sun for the planter boxes 21 feet long, 2 feet high and 2-1/2 feet wide in front of the house. Can you suggest plants from 1836 to 1860 that might have been planted (Oxblood Lily for example) A larger shaded area to the right of the cabin is 40' long and variable width 3-8 '. Can you suggest shade tolerant herbs or flowers?

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care and propagation of plants native to North America, and to the area in which they are being grown. By definition, all of the native plants of this area were here before 1836 or 1776 or the arrival of humans. The native plants have evolved and developed to flourish in the climate, soil and rainfall of their area over many thousands or millions of years. But we don't think that is what you mean by heirloom or heritage plants. We understand your query was generated by someone asking us about an oxblood lily. In our answer to that original question we pointed out that Rhodophiala bifida is a native of Uruguay and Argentina and thus does not appear in our Native Plant Database. It is, however, an heirloom plant in Texas, brought here by German settlers. This illustrates our point that "native" does not necessarily equate to "heirloom." We know that some native plants were used for food and medicinal purposes before Europeans came to the United States, bringing their own plants with them, in many cases. Some of those plants are still being used today in some cultures for the same purposes.

We found some sources that can give you better information than we can. First, an article Heirloom Plants for Texas Gardens, an excerpt from the book The Southern Heirloom Garden by William C. Welch and Greg Grant. Another article by Dr. Welch of Texas A&M University The Southern Heirloom Garden has a link in it to the above site, also. If you can accept native plants that have been here a VERY long time, we will give you a list of plants native to this area, for sun (6 hours or over of sun a day), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun) and shade (less than 2 hours of sun). Since you have fairly large areas to deal with, we will list some attractive shrubs and smaller herbaceous flowering plants. Some will be perennials, but we will certainly throw in Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) which is a reseeding annual. If you have difficulty locating any of these plants, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in the name of your town and state and you will get a list of native plant, nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environment consultants in your general area. 

Native annual herbaceous flowering plants

Amblyolepis setigera (huisache daisy) - part shade

Dracopis amplexicaulis (clasping coneflower) - part shade

Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) - sun

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox) - sun, part shade

Native perennial herbaceous flowering plants

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - sun, part shade, shade

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - sun, part shade

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) - sun, part shade

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) - sun, part shade, shade

Native shrubs

Ilex decidua (possumhaw) - sun, part shade

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - sun, part shade

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - sun, part shade

Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow) - sun, part shade


Amblyolepis setigera

Dracopis amplexicaulis

Lupinus texensis

Phlox drummondii

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Melampodium leucanthum

Salvia coccinea

Ilex decidua

Leucophyllum frutescens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Pavonia lasiopetala

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Eradicating non-native pyracantha bushes in California
August 26, 2008 - We removed several pyracantha bushes but they keep coming up in other parts of the garden. How do we kill the shoots? Thank you for any help
view the full question and answer

Possibility of invasiveness of blackberry bush
March 27, 2008 - I bought a blackberry bush from Home Depot last year. My sister said if I planted it in the ground it would take over my lawn. So I put it in a big planter up against my fence, but I'd like to put it...
view the full question and answer

Winter care for non-native ice plant in Virginia
August 15, 2008 - I have an ice plant in my garden and it is doing very well. What would be the care for winter. Ground seldom freezes, temperatures mostly 20 but can get in single digit occasionally. Very little snow ...
view the full question and answer

Control of invasive non-native Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard)
June 11, 2009 - What can I do to control garlic mustard that has moved into my wild area and what should I plant to combat this aggressive plant? Ostrich ferns, Pagoda dogwoods and emerald hemlocks have been recommen...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID of invasive vine from Austin
August 21, 2013 - A friend lives in southwest Austin and has a vine that's coming up all over her yard. I am a Williamson County Master Gardener and have asked all the garden gurus in my group what it is from a photo ...
view the full question and answer

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