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

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

Starting yucca from seed from Austin
December 24, 2012 - I would like to start a soft leaf yucca recurvifolia from seed. Is that possible? Also, I've looked for seed on dried flower stalks, and I'm not sure that what I'm finding is the seed, and I ...
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

Landscaping on South Padre Island
June 07, 2008 - I'm in charge of landscaping at my beachfront condo in South Padre Island and find the wind, salt air, and heat challenging for growing almost anything. We would like to incorporate native plants, b...
view the full question and answer

Bloom on non-native Agave attenuata
May 13, 2008 - I have an Agave Attenuata that has grown a long and unsightly stem.Is there a way to cut the plant portion off and re-root the plant without killing the petal portion?
view the full question and answer

Black bugs on yucca from Aledo TX
April 14, 2013 - We have flowering yuccas that have thousands of small black bugs that seem to be hurting the plant. They are not on any other foliage in our beds. What do I use to get rid of them??
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