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

Tuesday - September 01, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant
Title: Straw that broke the camel's back.
Answered by: Damon Waitt


Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I keep forgetting which day I am supposed to water and my St. Augustine lawn has turned into the neighborhood eyesore. Where can I go to learn more about this drought tolerant "native plant" gardening I'm hearing so much about?


Dear St. Augustine,

Today is your lucky day. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center partners with the University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes in an informal education program designed to teach adults about the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes. In the fall series of classes, students will learn about the benefits of native plants in a fun and interactive environment at the Wildflower Center's beautiful facility in south Austin.

The Fall Series of native plant gardening classes starts September 19th and includes:

Native Garden Design - Proper design will help ensure a successful native plant garden.

Native Plants I & II - Choosing the right native plants for your garden is both art and science. In this class you will learn about common and botanical names, basic garden ecology, plant requirements, and how to create a planting plan.

Installation - This class covers site preparation, irrigation, best planting times and techniques, and mulches and mulch application.

Maintenance - Topics will include selecting the right tools for the job, watering guidelines and water conservation, fertilizers, soil additives, mulches, pruning, trimming, mowing, grooming, cold and heat protection, gardening hazards and gardener's health.

Pests 101 - This class will introduce you to native plant diseases, garden pests, insects and weeds.

Registration for Go Native U is arranged through the University of Texas at Austin Informal Classes. Sign up for all six courses in the Native Plant Gardening sequence and receive a 10% discount on your registration. Call 512.471.9683 for the discount. 



More Drought Tolerant Questions

Need plants to grow between flagstones in Vista, CA.
February 06, 2012 - Hi, I have put in a flagstone patio set in DG. The DG is creating a very sandy messy surface on the flagstone, so want to plant a low ground cover between the joints. Its a fairly large area, in sun...
view the full question and answer

Replacing Drought-Stricken Cedars
January 16, 2012 - Hello, I live in Williamson County on a couple acres. We have several dead cedars as a result of drought; we're reluctant to cut them down because many of them provide a friendly barrier between us...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for North Central Texas
May 27, 2014 - I have a very large area that is in Palo Pinto County, Texas. We tried to plant grass but it never established. I'm looking for a ground cover that does well in shade (lots of oak tees) and is semi d...
view the full question and answer

Drought-tolerant plants for landscaping
November 13, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Our HOA is wanting to change the landscaping to Drought-tolerant plants and flowers. The area is Grayson County, south of Sherman Texas. What plants and flowers would you su...
view the full question and answer

Will Sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri thrive in caliche soil?
December 02, 2014 - I live on a high hill in the Hamilton Pool area outside of Austin. I am looking to plant a Dasylirion wheeleri that I grew from seed collected in New Mexico aria East Of Soccoro. I am wondering if the...
view the full question and answer

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