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 13, 2005

From: Bryan, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Shrubs
Title: Apartment Landscaping
Answered by: Joe Marcus


I live in an apartment and have a small patch filled with rocks and an ugly plant I don't know the name of. I want to take out the existing plants and put something else in. It has to be hearty,low maintenance and able to survive in hot sun and sometimes rainy conditions. We are in Bryan,Texas. I would prefer to bring some color to this patch but just want the space to look pretty. What do you recommend?


You can greatly improve your chances for success by adding four to six inches of good, sandy loam garden soil to your bed before you plant. Work the existing soil with a spade, digging fork or rototiller before adding the new soil. By mounding the soil, you provide conditions more favorable for root growth in the difficult spot you've described.

The single best plant that I can think of that fits your criteria is Texas Lantana. It is consistently colorful, tough as nails, pest, disease and deer resistant, treated like candy by butterflies and hummingbirds and is great for low-to-no maintenance areas. There are other choices, but for your needs, nothing could be better. Removing the developing seeds as they appear on the plant will encourage more flowering.


More Shrubs Questions

Growing rabitteye blueberries in Phenix City AL
January 18, 2013 - What type soil is needed to grow rabbiteye blueberries?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen privacy screen in California
February 18, 2015 - Hello, My family and I just bought a house in Paradise CA. I want to.plant privacy plants that are native to northern California. I would like the plant to be green all year but drought resistant if...
view the full question and answer

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Blue rug juniper native to New Hampshire
March 29, 2009 - Is the blue rug juniper native to New Hampshire? I'm considering it for ground cover near lake in zip 03872.
view the full question and answer

Dwarf foundation plants for St. Augustine FL
May 03, 2010 - Need to put in fast, low growing (3' max) foundation plants that would be frost hardy and work well in the St. Augustine area of Northeast Florida.
view the full question and answer

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