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?


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

Thursday - July 16, 2009

From: McLean, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native perennials for Donley County, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What are the best perennials to plant in Donley County, TX?


You are way up there in the Panhandle, but we have a list of plants for you. Go to our Recommended Species, click on the Texas High Plains on the map of Texas. When we did this, we got 90 possibilities of plants native to that area. Since you specified perennials, we began (in the right-hand column of the page) Narrow Your Search. Under General Appearance, we chose "Herb" (herbaceous blooming plant), under Duration "perennial," and you can also choose how much sun you have under Light Requirements. We consider 6 or more hours of sun a day to be "sun," 2 to 6 hours "part shade," and less than 2 hours of sun "shade." For our sample list, we are choosing part shade, and dry for Soil Moisture. Then, click on the "Narrow Your Search" rectangle on the bottom of the column. We got 10 possibilities with those specifications, and chose 4 for you to look at. Follow the plant link to the webpage on that individual plant, and note expected size, bloom color and season, wildlife benefits and information on propagation and growing conditions.

Perennials for Donley County, TX

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) - 1 to 3 ft., deciduous, blooms orange, yellow May to September, low water use, sun or part shade, well-drained soil, larval host for Monarch butterfly

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) - to 1 ft tall, blooms white, yellow April to November, low water use, sun or part shade, nectar for butterflies

Penstemon ambiguus (gilia beardtongue) - 3 to 6 ft. tall, blooms pink May to October, low water use, part shade

Salvia azurea var. grandiflora (pitcher sage) - 3 to 5 ft. tall, blooms blue, purple September to November, water use low, sun or part shade, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies

Now, how about some larger plants for your High Plains garden? Under "General Appearance" we searched first for "shrub" and then for "tree" and made four more suggestions.

Woody Plants for Donley County, TX

Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) - 3 to 6 ft. tall, blooms red, orange, yellow April to October, sun, low water use, attracts butterflies

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) - 15  to 30 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms white, pink, purple April to September, low water use, sun, nectar for hummingbirds

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) - 10 to 20 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms pink, purple March and April, sun or part shade, nectar for butterflies

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) - 10 to 20 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms white, green March and April, low water use, sun or part shade, fruits attract birds and deer

Asclepias tuberosa

Melampodium leucanthum

Penstemon ambiguus

Salvia azurea var. grandiflora

Lantana urticoides

Chilopsis linearis

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Diospyros texana




More Shrubs Questions

Repairing the split trunk of a TX mountain laurel
February 28, 2015 - I have a fairly large mountain laurel that I just realized has a split down the trunk. Is there anything I can do to save it?
view the full question and answer

Denying cows access to flowers through fence
March 20, 2008 - What flowers can I plant that cows will not eat? They stick their heads through the fence and eat anything they can reach. I would like to plant something in the fence row that will not hurt the cows...
view the full question and answer

Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
January 19, 2012 - My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen hedge for constant rain
June 24, 2008 - We live in Washington State up north by Canadian border. We need a hedge that will survive the constant rain. We have tried cedar. They seem to turn brown and die,one at a time so we keep replacing th...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and ground covers for slope in Southern California
March 13, 2010 - Need suggestions for shrubs & ground covers for a west facing, 45 degree angle, sunny slope with compacted, poor draining soil. We live 2-3 miles from the ocean. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center