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

Monday - March 01, 2010

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Plants for dry containers in Dallas
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I have four, rectangular, low to the ground, clay pots on either side of my garage. They face the west and I usually forget to water them. Cactus worked but I planted the kind with thorns! Any ideas for a perennial with pizzazz?

ANSWER:

Planters like clay pots add interest to a planting bed as they really help vary the heights of plants, but as you have learned, they have their own challenges.  Clay pots especially, are quick to dry out.

You definitely have the right idea, planting tough, drought tolerant plants like cacti in them and you will have better luck with cacti and succulents than with most herbaceous perennials. If you visit our Native Plant Database and then do a Combination Search for Texas (narrowing the search for sunny and dry conditions) for Herbs (perennials) and Cactus/succulent, you will find many plants to choose from.

Your choices will be limited by the plants that are actually available in nurseries in your area and by the size of your planters.  You will want to select plants much as you arrange flowers; balancing the size of plant to the height and width of the container.  Don't give up on the cacti/succulents (they are not all spiny!) as they will have a better chance of looking presentable throughout the year. 

Here are a few suggestions of plants that might do well in your situtation.  If you follow these links, they will take you to the information page for each of them.  And remember ... pizzazz is in the eye of the beholder!

Perennials

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)

Dalea greggii (Gregg's prairie clover)

Echeveria strictiflora (desert savior)

Glandularia gooddingii (southwestern mock vervain)

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia)

Cacti/Succulents

Ariocarpus fissuratus (chautle livingrock)

Euphorbia antisyphilitica (candelilla)

Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca)

Opuntia ellisiana (tigertongue)

 


Chrysactinia mexicana

Dalea greggii

Echeveria strictiflora

Glandularia gooddingii

Melampodium leucanthum

Wedelia texana

Ariocarpus fissuratus

Euphorbia antisyphilitica

Hesperaloe parviflora

Opuntia ellisiana

 

 

 

 

 

More Container Gardens Questions

Non-native and invasive bamboos from Staten Island, NY
May 19, 2013 - Hi I put some black Bamboo and some bias Bamboo in a large container about 6ft by 2ft and ht 18 inches .How can I get this Bamboo to thrive ? Suggestions on types of plant food or fertilizer or ant t...
view the full question and answer

Failure of Gerbera daisies in hanging basket
July 08, 2008 - I had perennial Gerbera daisies in a hanging basket, the flowers died,I was not sure whether to remove just the flower or to go from the flower to the stem at the plants main stem? There is nothing re...
view the full question and answer

Mites in soil of house plants
June 25, 2008 - Hi there! I recently noticed tiny silver mites in the soil of my plants that I only notice after watering. These plants are indoors in on a window ledge (a dwarf palm, aloe plant and Hawaiian Scheffle...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets in pots in New Caney, TX
April 25, 2009 - My mother in New Caney (Texas), would like to plant Bluebonnets in some lovely terra cotta containers on her porch (and will hopefully mail me some dried pressings of my beloved state flower). Other t...
view the full question and answer

Overwintering Cardinal Flower in Thornwood NY
October 01, 2009 - I have 6 Cardinal Flower plants in planters. They have mulch on top to keep them moist. Can they stay in the planters all winter? Do I cut the stalks before winter comes or leave as is?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center