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

Sunday - October 09, 2005

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Plants to accompany cactus and agave
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What plants would look well with cactus and agave to soften the look of spikiness? Also, a homeowner in our association wants the association to plant a pyracantha at the corner of the street to prevent children from climbing over a tall fence. Is there something that is not quite so formidable (and dangerous) that would still discourage climbers?

ANSWER:

How about Cenizo or Purple sage (Leucophyllum frutescens) to put with the cactus? It is an evergreen shrub with silvery gray-green leaves and beautiful pink-lavender flowers that appear after rains in the summer and fall. It also, like the agave and cactus, requires very little water.

If you want to keep someone from climbing on a fence, you probably want something with a few spines associated with it. Pyracantha does have spines, but many people aren't aware of them since they are somewhat hidden. You could use Agarita, an evergreen shrub with very visible sharp tips on its leaves. It sports beautiful red berries in early summer and also requires little water. However, if you want to avoid any prickly plants altogether, here are several evergreen shrubs/small trees that lack thorns: Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), Wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), and Texas mountain-laurel (Sophora secundiflora). You can find other shrubs/small trees native to the Hill Country in the Hill Country Horticulture section of the National Plants Database.
 

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Identification of green succulent plant with red tubular flowers
October 08, 2007 - Hi there, i have this plant which is green,leaves are succulent, and these red tubular little flowers about an inch long grow rampantly all summer. i wanna know what it is called as i take cuttings a...
view the full question and answer

Saving non-native sempervivum from accidental weed killer application from Nashville TN
June 15, 2012 - How to save a 'Live Forever' plant that had weed killer put on it by mistake.
view the full question and answer

Tropical-looking landscape in Austin, TX
March 24, 2005 - I'd like to have a tropical-looking landscape in my front yard. What plants would you recommend for Austin, Texas? I would prefer plants that can stay outside year-round, but will take suggestions on...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Agave americana in Comfort TX
November 09, 2009 - We have lost a huge agave americana and are not able to find out what to do for our others. The one we lost was rotted or eaten (beetles?) at the base and the whole thing just fell over. We have a l...
view the full question and answer

Native Plant Suggestions for Dripping Springs
August 02, 2011 - I have a very dry commercial property in Dripping Springs TX where the dry sand/dust isn't a good rain conductor (whenever we get rain). What can we plant there? We have no irrigation and use a rai...
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