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?

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
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

Saturday - October 08, 2005

From: Abilene, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Hearty, bushy native plants for windowboxes in Abilene, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Abilene, Tx and am a horrible gardener. I would love to have window boxes with some sort of hearty bushy plant. Any suggestions, I'm at a total loss...? Thanks!

ANSWER:

You probably would be interested in something that is evergreen or semi-evergreen that will keep your window boxes looking nice even in winter. Gray Sagewort or Prairie Sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) is a perennial evergreen with silver green foliage. Its flowers are rather inconspicuous but it could be combined with other plants with showier flowers. Two plants with yellow flowers that bloom spring through fall and remain evergreen in mild winters are Zexmenia or Texas Creeping-oxeye (Wedelia texana) and Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana). All three of the above plants can grow reasonably tall (1-3 feet) but can be controlled by trimming. A shorter white flower that is semi-evergreen is the Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)

If you are looking for something to produce showy flowers for the spring and summer, there are several annuals that would do nicely. All of the following have long bloom periods, from early spring till first frost.
1. Lazy daisy (Aphanostephus skirrhobasis)
2. Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
3. Greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium)
4. Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)

Some perennials with long bloom periods are:
1. Western Primrose (Calylophus hartwegii) or Square-bud Primrose (Calylophus berlandieri)
2. Violet Wild Petunia (Ruellia nudiflora)
3. Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)

You should realize that all the native plants named above will also grow in the ground in your area of Texas.

You can visit the National Suppliers Directory in the Native Plant Information Network to search for nurseries or seed companies that specialize in native plants in your area.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plants purchased at Duke Gardens From Durham NC
April 09, 2013 - I went to the plant sale at a local garden this week and bought some very small plants. I am happy to wait for plants to grow but wondered if I need to do anything special. I live in Durham NC and...
view the full question and answer

Plant for part sun in Nampa Idaho
May 20, 2010 - What could I plant in arid SW Idaho on the northwest side of my house along a border against the house? Most of the day this area is in shade, but at the hottest time of the day it gets a couple of h...
view the full question and answer

Hardiness of Acerola bush for Conway AR
January 25, 2013 - How far north can you grow an Acerola bush? I live in Conway, AR, which is north of Little Rock.We used to be Zone 7, but now we are on the edge of Zone 8, I believe.
view the full question and answer

Book on blueberry bushes in Tennessee
February 18, 2009 - I'm looking for a book titled "Planting blueberry bushes in Tennessee" by an author I can't remember the name of. Have you heard of this book an do you know where one could find a copy? The autho...
view the full question and answer

Trees & shrubs, low water, no maintenance, disease & pest resistant
May 04, 2013 - We need few Trees and shrubs to meet the following needs: - Low Water or best with a taproot for Ground Water - Clay Soil in Steep Slopes (25-40 degrees) - Low or No Maintenance. (hillside, no trim...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center