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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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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

 

 

 

 

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