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?


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

Tuesday - March 23, 2010

From: East Bernard, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Flowers for sandy soil and sun in Wharton Co., TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Wharton County. I am looking for flowers to plant in beds that have sandy soil and are well drained. The area receives sun all day until 5-6 in the afternoon. I would like to have flowers that would bloom much of the spring and summer since it wraps around the entire patio.


Having sandy, well-drained soil is refreshing to us after many questions about poorly-draining clay soils. However, we caution you that your soil might drain too well, so a little advance preparation, adding some compost or other organic matter, will not only enrich the soil but help the roots to tap into the nutrients and get sufficient moisture from that soil.

We are going to go to our Recommended Species section, click on South Texas on the map, and select plants that bloom in different times of the season to satisfy your request for bloom much of the Spring and Summer. We will select on "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant") for Habit or General Appearance, "sun" for Light Requirements and first "annual" and then "perennial" for Duration. The reason for the last selection is that it is a little late to plant seeds for annuals this year, as they are ordinarily planted in late Fall in this part of the world. You might be able to purchase bedding plants for annuals, so you will have some bloom from them this year, but if you wish to seed, you will have to wait until next year to enjoy those plants. Perennials do not bloom until the second year, either, unless you can purchase year-old bedding plants for them. Many of these plants will bloom even longer than indicated if they are watered. We found 10 annuals for your area and 19 perennials, from which we have made some selections. You may use the same search procedure to look at more options. 

Of course, our selections will all be plants native to your area. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America, but to the area in which those plants are being grown. If you have difficulty finding plants, go to our National Supplier's Directory, type in your town and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant seed suppliers, nurseries and landscape and environment specialists in your general area. 

Annual Blooming Plants for Wharton County, Texas:

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel) - 1 -2 ft., blooms red. yellow, brown May to August, medium water use,sun or part shade

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain) - 6- 12 in., blooms pink, purple March to December, low water use, sun or part shade

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm) - 1 - 2 ft., winter annual, blooms white, pink, purple May to July, low water use, sun, part shade

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) - 1 to 3 ft., blooms white, red, pink February to October, sun or part shade

Perennial Blooming Plants for Wharton County, Texas: 

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow) - to 1 ft., semi-evergreen, blooms white, pink, purple Mar to June, sun or part shade

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower) - to 3 ft., blooms blue, purple July to November, medium water use, sun or part shade, attracts butterflies

Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower) - 3 to 10 ft., blooms yellow, brown August to November, low water use, sun

Hibiscus martianus (heartleaf rosemallow) - 1 to 3 ft., blooms red January to December, medium water use, sun or part shade

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies) - 1 - 2 ft., blooms white, pink February to July, low water use, sun

Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower) - 1 - 3 ft., blooms orange, yellow, brown May to October, medium water use, sun

Salvia farinacea (mealycup sage) - 2 to 3 ft., blooms blue April to October, low water use, sun

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia) - blooms orange, yellow May to November, low water use, sun or part shade

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Gaillardia pulchella

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Monarda citriodora

Salvia coccinea

Callirhoe involucrata

Conoclinium coelestinum

Helianthus maximiliani

Hibiscus martianus

Oenothera speciosa

Ratibida columnifera

Salvia farinacea

Wedelia texana







More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Cedar sage not blooming in pots in Austin
September 14, 2012 - I have cedar sage (salvia roemeriana) in containers on a dappled-shade apartment patio in Austin, TX. This is their first season here, transplanted in May (it's now September). All the plants have be...
view the full question and answer

Plants to compliment pine trees in Ohio
May 13, 2009 - We just moved into a new home, the backyard has a above ground island with 5 pine trees (fairly young ones, not big) between the trees are some piney looking shrubs, there is a lot of open space on th...
view the full question and answer

Deadheading Mexican hat to produce more blooms in Austin
July 05, 2010 - I have several Mexican hat (rudbeckia) plants growing wild in my yard. Would deadheading now give them a second flush of bloom in fall?
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control Shrubs and Groundcovers for Steep NY Wooded Slope
November 28, 2015 - I need to cover a couple of very steep slopes in upstate New York that are partially wooded and near a brook. The slopes are about 130 feet back from the brook. Someone estimated that there is a coupl...
view the full question and answer

Finding a source of Straggler daisy
October 14, 2015 - I've decided on Straggler daisy but am having trouble finding it. It would be perfect for me. Do I have to wait until next Spring for it to show up? Can it be ordered through a nursery or a landscape...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center