Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 25, 2010

From: Kingwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Butterfly Gardens
Title: Native plants to replace non-native Pentas plant in butterfly garden
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Can you suggest a Native alternative to Pentas? a freeze killed mine and if a native plant can fill that nectar/color void in my garden I'd appreciate it. thanks for all that y'all do.

ANSWER:

Here are several plants that have either pink or red flowers and are native to the Harris County area:

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle) is an evergreen vine with beautiful red flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies.  It survived this winter's 18 degree temperatures in Austin so it should survive a Harris County winter easily.  It can be trained to twine around a post or up a fence.

Malpighia glabra (wild crapemyrtle) is a small shrub with pink flowers that attract birds and butterflies.

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow) begins blooming in May and blooms into November.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) is a small evergreen shrub that blooms several times a year and all-year-round in response to rains.

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

You can see more recommended native plants for bird and butterfly habitats for the Houston area in the Native Plant Society of Texas—Houston Chapter's Native Plant Information Pages.

Here are photos of these plants from our Image Gallery:


Lonicera sempervirens

Malpighia glabra

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Leucophyllum frutescens

Lobelia cardinalis

Phlox drummondii

Monarda fistulosa

 

 

 

 

More Butterfly Gardens Questions

Butterfly gardening in Quitman, TX
February 11, 2009 - We want to establish a butterfly garden in our back yard. What plants should we establish to attract the butterfly for food and host planting?
view the full question and answer

Food for butterflies in Austin
April 21, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, my kids and I are raising Painted Lady butterflies from caterpillars but it's still too cold to release them (oddly cool spring we're having!) If they mate and lay eggs, what loc...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a fairy garden
February 16, 2016 - Hi Smarty.. I would like to create a fairy garden for my 3 year old daughter this spring in a 4ft x 2ft space. Do you have any suggestions on what native plants would be great for this?
view the full question and answer

Early nectar blooms for Monarch butterflies from Austin
May 04, 2014 - Could you tell me any early spring blooming nectar plants that monarchs will nectar from. I'm specifically looking for bloom times in March and early April. I have plenty of May blooms but not ...
view the full question and answer

Pollinator garden for Belen NM
May 16, 2012 - Trying to set up a flower garden to attract bees and butterflies. Can you tell me what would be best to grow. I live in Belen, NM.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.