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

Friday - October 14, 2005

From: Hastings on Hudson, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Native plants for condo apartments in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello, and thank you for this wonderful source of help! We live in Hastings on Hudson, NY in a brick building of 7 condo apartments. Our corner unit has one narrow flower bed out front on the street facing east and the corner is a south east exposure with the other end of the bed getting less sun. The bed is about a foot wide and about 13 feet long, with an approximate depth of 6-8 inches or more. (it has supported several evergreen shrubs and hydrangeas which are temporarily being housed elsewhere to save them from scaffolding.) Can you advise me on what and how to choose plants to achieve a perennial garden for this one flower bed, with some evergreens and flowering all spring, summer and fall? I definitely want to help butterflies and other critters. I need help with as much info as possible including how to cultivate the soil for this stand alone bed. If this comes out well, hopefully it will be a showcase for all to see and hopefully it will spread the word about going Native. Thank you.

ANSWER:

There are several routes to go in selecting plants for your flower bed. First, you can find an extensive "Recommended Native Plant Species List" for the Northeast on the Regional Fastpacks page on the Wildflower Center web page. The list is divided by plant type (Ferns, Grass-like, Grasses, Shrubs, Trees, Vines, and Herbaceous) with information about size, bloom time, and growing conditions for each plant. You can find more information and photos of most of the plants on the list in the Native Plants Database.

You can also search the Native Plants Database using specific criteria for your plants by using the Combination Search feature. The criteria you can choose are: Plant Characteristics (Bloom Color, Bloom Time, Habit, Duration), Growing Conditions (Light Needs, Water Use, Soil Moisture) and Distribution.

Additionally, "Gardening with Native Plants" on the Connecticut Botanical Society web page has an excellent short list of suggestions for native perennials for your area that would work very well in your flower bed.

To prepare the bed for your new plants, it would be desirable to make the bed deeper if at all possible. If not, you might replace or augment some of the existing soil with humus, leaf mold or some other rich, loose soil with lots of organic matter.
 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Will hybrid Tecoma stans attract hummingbirds from Glendale AZ
July 07, 2012 - We bought a bells of fire plant; would like to know if hummingbirds like them?
view the full question and answer

Literature on native plants and wildlife from Baltimore
September 04, 2010 - Can you tell me a good review of the literature on the relation between native plants and ecology; for example, a study might indicate how native plants support more birds or other wildlife.
view the full question and answer

Native plants to attract bees for vegetable garden
August 12, 2007 - I'm looking for native plants that can help attract bees around my vegetable garden to help with pollination. What recommendations do you have?
view the full question and answer

From hay to meadow
August 31, 2004 - I have just acquired a 90 acre farm in the Hudson River Valley and would like to turn some hay fields into natural meadows. One, for example is 20 acres, and has been let go to weed (goldenrod, thistl...
view the full question and answer

Larval host plants for Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) butterflies
October 31, 2009 - I am looking for a list of larval host plants for Painted Lady butterflies. Could you provide such a list?
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