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

Searching for seeds or plants of non-native Euphorbia peplus seeds from Austin
March 19, 2011 - I am looking for Euphorbia Peplus seeds or plants to grow for skin cancer treatment. Do you have seeds or plants? Thanks!!
view the full question and answer

Plants looking similar to Camellia sinensis in Venezuela
June 30, 2008 - Is there another plant that looks similar to the tea plant? I need to do a photoshoot of a tea plantation, but canīt really get to one, so I was wondering if there were other plants that at least look...
view the full question and answer

Non-native ixora full of weeds in Miami FL
July 29, 2011 - My Ixoras are full of weeds look like some kind of berry. Is there a way to get rid of them?
view the full question and answer

Rose care for Austin
August 18, 2013 - I am a transplant from the Pacific NW and need to relearn rose care for Austin. When is the best time to cut back the roses, or do I even bother? I also need to find out how far back I can trimming a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native zucchini in Muskogee, OK
July 23, 2011 - In the awful heat of this summer I am still getting zucchini to produce. But, once it grows about 3 inches, it gets yellow on the ends and dies. Am I watering it too much? (I have sprayed for bugs ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center