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 - October 06, 2009

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants for hanging baskets in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Can you suggest some plants for winter hanging baskets in the Austin, TX area?


The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown, in this case, Central Texas. The plants you ordinarily see in hanging baskets are often non-natives to this area. There are some natives that possibly would do well in hanging baskets (we assume this is for outside?) that are going to be dormant in the winter.  If you are looking for indoor hanging baskets, there are few plants that can endure artificial heat, low light and dryness of the indoor climate; the ones that can are generally non-native tropicals. We did find some plants that might work for you, either flowering all year or starting very early in the year, evergreen or semi-evergreen, even some ferns that are evergreen but don't, of course, flower.

We would add one caution: Since this is not something we have considered before for native plants, we do not know how hardy the roots of these plants would be in the winter. Roots of a plant in the ground are insulated by the warmth of the Earth, as well as mulch or decomposing organic matter. A plant in a planter is more vulnerable to freezing weather because it has so little insulation, just some potting soil and the container. To carry this one step further, a plant in a hanging basket is really exposed, not only to freezing weather and cold wind, but to drying out. 

Possibilities for Hanging Baskets in Central Texas:

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow) - evergreen or semi-evergreen, blooms white, pink, purple March to June, but has attractive trailing foliage

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain) - blooms pink, purple March to October, an annual that sometimes perennializes

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies) - semi-evergreen, blooms pink February to July

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa (stemmy four-nerve daisy) - evergreen, blooms January to December

Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair) - evergreen

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) - evergreen

Thelypteris kunthii (Kunth's maiden fern) - semi-evergreen

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Callirhoe involucrata

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Oenothera speciosa

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa

Adiantum capillus-veneris

Polystichum acrostichoides

Thelypteris kunthii



More Non-Natives Questions

Esperanza failing to bud out in Georgetown TX
March 28, 2010 - I planted esperanza shrubs last summer and they did well. I did not prune them back in the winter. They are not showing any signs of life (No greenery) Will the plants start to form leaves and flow...
view the full question and answer

Need trees to screen view of parking garage in Houston, TX.
December 29, 2011 - We live in Houston, TX with a beautiful lot except a 4 story parking garage has been built behind us. How can we screen this and the lights out of site. It looks terrible from the second story espec...
view the full question and answer

Planting time for non-natives in Irving TX
February 07, 2012 - Have dwarf nandinas and two lorapetalums that I want to transplant. Can I do it now February 6th 2012?
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native grapefruit from seeds from Austin
April 30, 2013 - Can you grow ruby red grapefruit trees from seeds?
view the full question and answer

Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
May 27, 2012 - In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
view the full question and answer

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