En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - October 08, 2009

From: Temple, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Annual for poor drainage area in Temple TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What annual would you recommend for a bed with poor drainage for summer color ?

ANSWER:

The first thing we would suggest is improving the drainage in that bed. We can certainly recommend some plants that tolerate wet feet, but you will have much better success and more range of choice if you correct the drainage. It really isn't any big deal, depending on the circumstances. Is the bed directly under a roof where the water comes down in sheets on the bed when it rains? You might consider some guttering or at least putting sturdier shrubs in that space. Is it just a low spot where water naturally drains into it? Raising the bed by adding some good soil and some organic matter like compost will address the problem in most cases. Many raised beds have frameworks around them, but you can likely make do by just mixing better dirt into what is there, both raising the level and increasing the capacity for drainage. You probably have clay there, which absorbs moisture, swells up and doesn't permit oxygen and nutrients to get to the plant roots growing in that clay.

Since we don't know what your sun exposure is, we are going to go to Recommended Species, click on Central Texas on the map, and search on "herbs" (herbacebeous blooming plants) under General Appearance, "annual" under Duration, and wet or moist soil under Soil Moisture. This netted us four results, all good-looking flowers native to Central Texas. If you get the poor drainage corrected, you could expand your choices by going through the same search procedure but just not specifying soil moisture. And/or you could specify "perennial" under Duration, or not specify duration at all. Follow each link to the page on that individual plant to find out its projected size, growing conditions and propagation instructions.

Annuals for wet or moist soil in Temple TX:

Dracopis amplexicaulis (clasping coneflower) - blooms yellow April to July, high water use, part shade

Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo) - blooms blue, purple July to September, low water use, sun or part shade

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) - blooms yellow June to October, medium water use, sun, part shade or shade

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) - blooms white, pink, purple February to October, sun, part shade or shade

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Dracopis amplexicaulis

Eryngium leavenworthii

Rudbeckia hirta

Salvia coccinea

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Flowering plants for shady garden in Bastrop
July 02, 2010 - We live in Bastrop, 8 miles west of the Historical district. We have a small flower garden in a shady spot around 25 feet from the back patio of our home. We'd like to find out what native plants, f...
view the full question and answer

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
view the full question and answer

Is Canna glauca invasive?
June 10, 2015 - How aggressive is Canna glauca? I'm interested in planting one near a gutter downspout, but I'm afraid it will crowd out groundcovers (heartleaf skullcap and fall obedient plant) in the two location...
view the full question and answer

Clover Among the Bluebonnets in Round Mountain, Texas
April 13, 2012 - I have a beautiful yard of bluebonnets, but mixed in with them are a tall clover that is hiding the flower's beauty and a shorter plant with clover-like leaves that produces burrs. Pulling is not an...
view the full question and answer

Recreating a wildflower meadow, central Texas
July 02, 2013 - We have an acre on our property that has bluebonnets. Unfortunately, it also has other plants that we don't want -Johnson grass, nettles, burrs. We plan to do a controlled burn in the fall and re-...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center