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

How to grow milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) for monarch butterflies
March 31, 2010 - I tried and tried and tried to grow Asclepias viridis, A. asperula and even A. oenotheroides from seeds and even tubers for fourteen years! Do you have advice for growing these and other milkweed plan...
view the full question and answer

Non-native citronella mosquito plant wintering inside in Charlotte NC
October 20, 2011 - Can I bring the citronella mosquito plant in the house over the winter, or should it be planted outside. I live in Charlotte, NC.
view the full question and answer

What is the black stuff growing on my thoroughwort?
October 27, 2015 - What is the black stuff on my thoroughwort plant's leaves that is killing the plant?
view the full question and answer

Less Maintenance Plant Suggestions for New Raised Bed in Henderson, NV.
April 03, 2014 - We have a newly constructed raised garden bed. I was wondering what kind of plants would be appropriate to plant this springtime in Henderson, NV with less maintenance because I work full time.
view the full question and answer

Chile Pequin growing well in Charleston SC
January 28, 2013 - Not really a question. I have successfully grown from seed Chile Pequins I picked up in Texas here in Charleston Sc. They are so hardy they come back from their stalks each year and sprout from seeds ...
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