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

Friday - July 31, 2009

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens
Title: Texas native plants in an indoor space in Dallas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there a native Texas plant that would be suited for an indoor application, such as large planters in a lobby space?

ANSWER:

We did try, but not too successfully. You see, at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the use, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. There really are no plants, especially natives, that are native to indoors. At first, we searched on succulents, as some of them can get by on quite a bit of shade, but even they would apparently not survive inside. And some of the Texas native succulents are things like Agave havardiana (Havard's century plant), not exactly a welcoming decoration in a public building. We tried searching on 2 hours or less a day of sunlight, and found 3 slim possibilities:

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto)

The first two are not only pretty messy for an indoors space, but they are deciduous. When winter comes, even though they are in a heated building, they are going to drop leaves and die back to the ground. The dwarf palmetto is evergreen, and possibly could adapt to living in a pot, but the question of sunlight remains. If a plant could be placed near a very sunny window, it might get enough sunlight. Plants native to Texas are accustomed, by eons of experience, to a lot of sun, often dry seasons, as well as changing seasons. 

Honestly, we would hate for you to spend time and money trying to place a Texas native indoors. There are a number of tropical non-natives that are widely used for that sort of situation. We don't recommend non-natives, but in your case, the plant isn't going to become invasive and move into the natural terrain around it. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Turk's cap or turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Havard's century plant
Agave havardiana

More Non-Natives Questions

Native alternatives for Japanese maple
September 05, 2007 - Hi, I am a landscaper trying to create a landscape in a shaded area with no sun. The person likes a Acer palmatum, but I am not sure it will grow there. We live in South Lake Tahoe. So I know of some ...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a young lilac
November 05, 2012 - This past spring I planted a hybrid lilac in the ground. The weather here has started to get cold, and much more so at night. Also, the temperatures go from warm to cold and back again as if unsure wh...
view the full question and answer

Use of non-native jasmine for wedding in Salt Lake City
January 08, 2010 - I am getting married mid summer in Salt Lake City. I want to incorporate jasmine plants/flowers into my bouquet, centerpieces, etc. Is that feasible living in Salt Lake City? Would they survive long e...
view the full question and answer

Possible maple scale on non-native mophead hydrangeas from Newport RI
August 07, 2013 - I have a mophead hydrangea that has small white cottony tufts under the leaves and on the stems. I believe this is maple scale. Is there a home remedy I can use to rid this disease?
view the full question and answer

Support for non-native, invasive Nandina Domestica from San Antonio, TX
July 09, 2013 - I consider nandina domestica to be a perfect plant for San Antonio, but see that it is on the list of invasive plants for surrounding eco-areas. How should I respond regarding one of my favorite land...
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