En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - April 18, 2009

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Native plants for southwest side of house in Birmingham, AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to know what I can plant on the southwest side of my house where there is a brick foundation and is really hot in the summer. I've tried irises and day lilies-not good. Suggestions?

ANSWER:

There are several members of the Iris genus that are native to Alabama, including Iris brevicaulis (zigzag iris), Iris cristata (dwarf crested iris) and Iris fulva (copper iris). However, it's more likely you have bearded iris, or Iris germanica in your garden. Extensively hybridized over the years, they originated in central and southern Europe, but have been grown in North American gardens extensively. The daylily, genus Hemerocallis, is native to Asia and, like the Iris, has been cross-bred and hybridized until they are very unlike their forbears. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Since your plants are probably so changed from their origins, there is no way of knowing whether their failure to thrive has anything to do with where they originally came from. What we do know is that plants native to your area and selected for sun and probably dry soil will be more likely to survive the extreme conditions you describe. 

We are assuming that you want herbaceous blooming plants, perennials, so that is what we are going to look for in our Recommended Species for Alabama. These plants are all commercially available, and if you have difficulty finding them, you can go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box; you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environment consultants in your general area. Follow each plant link to the page on that individual plant and find out what size they are, when and what color they bloom, and how much water they normally need. Since they are natives, you will find they need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. 

Herbaceous blooming perennials for Alabama

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rosemallow)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Penstemon digitalis (talus slope penstemon)


Achillea millefolium

Asclepias tuberosa

Conoclinium coelestinum

Echinacea purpurea

Hibiscus coccineus

Lobelia cardinalis

Oenothera speciosa

Penstemon digitalis

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native smoketree for California City, CA
June 28, 2010 - I was wondering if you could tell me if it would be a good or bad idea to plant a Smoke Tree (most likely European) in the vicinity of a septic tank. We are looking for something which will provide a...
view the full question and answer

Replacing non-native iceplant in El Cajon CA
June 11, 2010 - Help! We are clearing fungus dead iceplant on a massive steep bank. Should I avoid replacing it with more iceplant? Would myaporum prostrate be a better option? Fast growing, erosion resistant, zero m...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive, poisonous Chinese yam
October 16, 2005 - I found a vine in my yard [central Indiana] which I believe is Dioscorea oppositiflora and I wanted first to confirm my identification and second to find out about edibility [especially of the airborn...
view the full question and answer

What crops grow in Laredo, Texas?
September 19, 2012 - I have to do a report on Laredo Texas and one of the questions is what type of crops do they grow in Laredo Texas. I couldn't find an answer anywhere and I was wondering if you can help me?
view the full question and answer

White specks on unknown houseplant from Ridgeway SC
June 20, 2013 - I have an unknown houseplant that seems to have some sort of pest or disease on it. It has white snowy specks atop its leaf. I bought this purple fuzzy leafed houseplant from Walmart in Winnsboro, SC ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center