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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Kerrville, TX.
August 18, 2012 - We have a steep slope at the back of our property in "caleche" territory in Kerrville. It is about 80 feet wide by 40 feet and ends at a wash. It is outside of our fenced yard and we are in city lim...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for under a pine tree in Vevay IN
June 29, 2009 - At our office we have a very nice garden however, in the front we have a large pine tree. We cannot get anything to take root & live there. Do you have any suggestions for a native shrub or perennia...
view the full question and answer

Standing Cypress Plants in San Antonio, TX
June 26, 2013 - I purchased seeds for standing cypress 2 years ago and this spring they look beautiful. What is the best way to harvest the seeds? Also, will the current plants come back next spring or will I have to...
view the full question and answer

Visual differences among members of the Apiaceae
July 21, 2012 - What is the visual difference between queen anne's lace and hemlock and cowslip parsley? I live in Marin county, California and have often been confused as to which is what? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Will Canada geese eat Asclepias tuberosa from Cape May Court, NJ
May 20, 2014 - Will Canada geese eat my butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)? I know this plant is deer resistant. I really want to plant some on sandy bank near pond in my back yard, but I fear the geese will ...
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