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

Native plants for containers
April 22, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have found the website very helpful, but have a few questions of my own. I recently purchased the winecup plant, phlox and cedar sage perennials. I have planted them in ...
view the full question and answer

Planter boxes on a roof deck in Boston MA
May 20, 2013 - What will grow in planter boxes on a roof deck in Boston ma? We are planning to make our own planters to sit on the framing "outside" our deck rail. We have 4 ft from the rail to the edge of the ho...
view the full question and answer

Patio plants suffering from heat in Austin
August 22, 2010 - My patio plants are burning up from the intense sun of Austin's August. Last year it even burned the leaves. Besides moving 40 plants to a shadier spot do you have suggestions on how to protect the...
view the full question and answer

Want to Grow Herbs in Pots on Balcony
November 26, 2011 - Nov. 20, 2011 I live in a large apartment with a front balcony. I was wondering what would grow well in pots and fresh herb this time of the year? And will lavendar work for a hanging plant as well...
view the full question and answer

Planting plumereia and bird of paradise palm outside in Austin
May 23, 2007 - I have a plumeria and a bird of paradise palm in pots that I want to place in the ground. I've seen plumeria's planted in the ground at a house leading to Bryan College Station that seem to have bee...
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