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?

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

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

Desmodium spp. (beggar's lice) in Leander TX
November 11, 2011 - Our home backs up to a greenbelt on Blockhouse Creek in Williamson County, Texas (FM 1431 and Parmer Lane). The combination of the flood and drought has left our beautiful greenbelt with an abundance...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on wildflower guides
December 07, 2004 - Can you recommend a field guide to Texas plants?
view the full question and answer

Deadheadidng of gaillardia
July 10, 2005 - How do I maintain gaillardias? Specially, do I deadhead them?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for wedding mid-spring in Austin, TX
November 10, 2006 - My fiancé and I are both native Texans, and we are looking to have a beautiful yet simple wedding on March 31, 2007. We would love to use TX wildflowers. Our colors are white, orange, and blue. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Can I grow Texas bluebonnets in Georgia?
May 25, 2010 - Being a native Texan, my mom loves bluebonnets. We live in Georgia, however so I am wondering if I planted some bluebonnets in her yard would they grow? What are the best conditions for bluebonnets ...
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