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
2 ratings

Friday - April 24, 2009

From: Llano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native replacement for Mexican heather in Llano, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Please suggest a native or adaptable alternative plant for Mexican Heather.


Cuphea hyssopifolia, native to Mexico and Guatemala, is an annual or tender perennial sub-shrub. To find a native alternative, we will go to our Recommended Species section, select on Central Texas on the map, and search for annuals or perennials, shrub, sub-shrub or herbaceous flowering plants that can do well in sun or part shade.  Nothing we find will be an exact duplicate of Mexican false heather, especially in color, but they will grow in similar environments and be fairly low.

Amblyolepis setigera (huisache daisy) - annual, to 1 ft. tall, blooms yellow March to June, part shade

Chamaecrista fasciculata var. fasciculata (partridge pea) - annual, 1 to 3 ft. tall, blooms yellow May to Oct., sun

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain) - annual, to 1 ft., blooms pink, purple March to December, sun, part shade

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm) - annual, 1 to 2 ft.tall, blooms white, pink, purple May to July, sun, part shade

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower) - perennial to 3 ft. tall, blooms blue, purple, July to November, sun, part shade

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) - perennial to 1 ft. tall, blooms white March to November, sun, part shade

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa (stemmy four-nerve daisy) - perennial to 1 ft. tall, evergreen, blooms yellow January to December, sun

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia) - perennial sub-shrub, 1 to 3 ft. tall, yellow May to November, sun, part shade

Amblyolepis setigera


Wedelia texana


Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa

Melampodium leucanthum

Conoclinium coelestinum

Monarda citriodora

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Chamaecrista fasciculata var. fasciculata




More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Failure of tall garden phlox buds to open in St. Louis MO
July 30, 2009 - Why won't the buds of my tall garden phlox open? Plants are apparently healthy, no powdery mildew or visible insects, foliage looks great and buds are profuse but they don't open. I have two clumps ...
view the full question and answer

Do monarchs like Cynachum laeve in Austin, TX?
May 29, 2012 - I have found what I believe is Honeyvine (Cynanchum laeve) growing in my yard here in Austin. I tried using the LBJWC plant data base and could not find it. I also found the plant with a diff...
view the full question and answer

Neighborhood association wanting wildflowers mowed from Grand Prairie TX
July 14, 2013 - For at least 15 years, I have been fostering growth of wildflowers in 60% of my 90x400' yard which include 150' utility trunkline easement in which I can plant no trees. This year, we had volunteer ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shaded area in East Texas
July 23, 2013 - I live in East Texas and have an area that is shaded most of the day - it only gets sun in the middle of the day but it is direct. What would be best? I would prefer something that won't freeze, bu...
view the full question and answer

Improving Bluebonnet seed contact with soil
November 06, 2015 - I have a five acre field in Blanco County, much of which is covered by bluebonnets. There are several species of native grasses as well. Would it be beneficial to disk or otherwise disturb the soil ...
view the full question and answer

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