En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Native Texas plants that will grow in sandy soil and salt tolerant

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

Wednesday - June 08, 2005

From: Lake Jackson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Native Texas plants that will grow in sandy soil and salt tolerant
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am in the US Coast Guard and we are looking to plant some wildflowers. The plants will be near saltwater and may get exposed if the area floods during a tropical storm or hurricane. Being on the Gulf Coast in the city of Freeport, TX, what wildflowers will grow in this area? Also, I would like to know if bluebonnets will grow in this type of environment?

ANSWER:

If you choose plants that naturally grow along the Texas seashore your chances of success are greatly improved. You need plants that will grow in sandy soil and are salt tolerant. To learn more about those I suggest you find a copy of "Wildflowers and Other Plants of Texas Beaches and Islands" by Alfred Richardson. 2002. Austin: University of Texas Press. You could check your local library or bookstore for a copy. There are also copies available at the Wildflower Center's Wild Ideas store. You can reach them by telephone at 1-877-945-3357.

Now for suggestions, we can start with a couple of plants that are salt tolerant: 1) Coralbean (Erythrina herbacea), a shrub-like plant with beautiful red flowers, and 2) Sea Ox-eye (Borrichia frutescens) with yellow daisy-like flowers.

Then, there are those wildflowers whose common names indicate that they can flourish on the coast: 1) Sea Purslane (Sesuvium portulacastrum), 2) Beach morning glory (Ipomoea imperati), 3) Salt-marsh morning glory (Ipomoea sagittata), 4) Beach evening primrose (Oenothera drummondii), and 5) Seashore Mallow (Kosteletzkya virginica).

Other possibilities that do well in sandy soil are: 1) Chisme (Portulaca pilosa), 2) Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata), 3) Retama (Parkinsonia aculeata) 4) White Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), 5) Prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida), and 6) Texas lantana (Lantana urticoides).

Three popular wildflower species grow well in sandy soil. 1) Golden-wave (Coreopsis tinctoria), 2) Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella), and 3) Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta).

You might also consider some ornamental grasses such as 1) Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata), 2) Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), and 3) Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis).

The Sandyland bluebonnet (Lupinus subcarnosus) will grow well in sandy soil, but it is doubtful that it would do well in an area very near the coast. However, Brenda Smith in her book, Lazy Gardener's Guide, reports "profusions of bluebonnets blooming" in people's yards on the Bolivar Peninsula not too far from you. So, you might give them a try. Ms. Smith also reports other wildflowers growing along the Bolivar Peninsula that you might also consider for your garden.

For nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants, you can check National Supplers Directory.
 

More Wildflowers Questions

Preparation for wildflower meadow at elementary school
August 04, 2007 - I am a Scout working on starting a wildflower meadow at an Elementary school. How should I prepare the ground and what types of seeds do well in zipcode area 76092? I would also like so add some nat...
view the full question and answer

Are bluebonnets toxic to horses from Pearland TX
March 10, 2011 - Are bluebonnets toxic to horses?
view the full question and answer

Petals not developing on blackeyed susans from Nashville TN
July 05, 2011 - I have an established "patch" of black eyes susans. This year, the leaves are beautiful, the centers black..but the petals are practically non existent. They didn't seem to develop correctly. Any...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for Missouri
September 06, 2006 - I live in the midwest, Wright City, Missouri. I have good dirt, not clay or sand. I love wildflowers. What kind of wildflowers can I grow here successfully?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers that grow in woodlands
June 22, 2011 - Please tell me the names of wildflowers that grow under your oak trees in Texas. I am only familiar with those open meadow plants, not those that live under the deciduous trees. Thank you for your t...
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