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Monday - March 01, 2010

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


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?


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!


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)


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






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