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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - March 15, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Central Texas native plants good for cut flowers in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What are the best native plants to Central Texas that can be used as cut flowers for indoors in the home? I have a large garden that will be partly vegetables, partly for cut flowers. Thank you for any help.

ANSWER:

We do not have a specification for "cut flowers" in our Native Plant Database, and most of the lists we found on the Internet were either non-natives or hybrids, or both. So, we are going to search our Recommended Species for Central Texas and see what we can find that will be in bloom at different times of the year that could work. Our Flower Volunteers, who regularly make the arrangements you will see around the buildings at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, often use grasses, branches with berries on them, and foliage cut from plants that are not flowering right at that time, so you could use some creativity there and we will try just to locate some flowers you could grow for your arrangements. We are going to separate our lists by "annual," "perennial," and "biennial." Often, while annuals will bloom and reseed themselves the first year, perennials and biennials will not bloom until the second year.  Follow each plant link to find out more about the sun requirements, water needs, etc. Since we do not personally have much experience with cut flowers, we tried to select only flowers that had long, fairly sturdy stems and showy blooms. From your own experience, you can choose which will work best for you.

Annuals:

Coreopsis tinctoria var. tinctoria (golden tickseed) - blooms yellow, brown February to November

Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo) - blooms blue, purple July to September

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia (tanseyleaf tansyaster) - blooms purple May to October

Biennials:

Ipomopsis rubra (standing-cypress) - blooms red, orange, yellow May to July

Perennials:

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower) - blooms blue, purple July to November

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - blooms yellow April to June

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - pink, purple April to September

Engelmannia peristenia (Engelmann's daisy) - yellow March to July

Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower) - yellow, brown August to November

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - red May to October

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) - white, yellow March to June

Penstemon cobaea (cobaea beardtongue) - white, pink April to May

Penstemon triflorus (Heller's beardtongue) - red April, May

Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower) - orange, yellow, brown May to October

Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage) - blue April to October

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa (stemmy four-nerve daisy) - yellow January to December

From our Native Plant Image Gallery: 


Coreopsis tinctoria var. tinctoria

Eryngium leavenworthii

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Ipomopsis rubra

Conoclinium coelestinum

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Engelmannia peristenia

Helianthus maximiliani

Lobelia cardinalis

Melampodium leucanthum

Penstemon cobaea

Penstemon triflorus

Ratibida columnifera

Salvia farinacea

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa
 
 

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