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

Native plants for highlights in a cactus garden
March 12, 2008 - Hi, I'm looking for some groundcover (succulents or herbs), shrubs, and other perennials to plant along with the cactuses (20 or so) I got from the CDRI plant sale in Fort Davis. The most important ...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with beetles feeding on cholla cactus
June 20, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I bought a Cylindropuntia imbricata from the Wildflower center and it was growing like crazy. I recently noticed a lot of beetles feeding on it. Some are black and some are gra...
view the full question and answer

What to do with bloom stalk on yucca
June 08, 2008 - Six years ago, I dug up two small narrow-leaf yuccas from a deer lease outside of Junction, Texas. I planted them in a raised bed in my yard and the smaller of the two survived and grew. To my surpris...
view the full question and answer

Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
August 14, 2012 - Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on bio-security
June 11, 2005 - Hello, My friend and I are summer interns at the Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve Site in Freeport, Texas. Our jobs as the interns is to find a plant that is friendly to the animals around our...
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