En Español

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

Wednesday - April 14, 2010

From: Huntsville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Transplants
Title: What soil to plant native plants in Huntsville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently purchased several plants at the Spring Plant Sale and would like to know when planting them, what type of soil should I use. I typically use partial native soil and partial mushroom compost but have never planted native plants before. Please advise.

ANSWER:

First, we recommend that you read A Guide to Native Plant Gardening in our How-To Articles. Ordinarily, we recommend native soil for native plants; the point being that the native plants have grown in that soil and that environment for millions of years. We also often recommend mixing compost into new beds being planted, especially where there is clay soil. The compost improves drainage and help the tiny little rootlets access the nutrients in the soil.

We have no experience with mushroom compost, so we did some research, finding mostly opinions, and not sure which are solid facts. The first article we read was from Doug Green's simplegiftsfarm Mushroom Compost. Next, we would suggest Oregon State University Extension Mushroom Compost - Use Carefully. And, finally, Dave's Cave - Mushroom Compost. Frankly, by the time we were finished reading all these, we were not very much in favor of the concept. Some words kept popping up, like "salts," "heavy metals," "straw," "corn cobs" and "fresh manure." It probably wouldn't do any harm, but we think some nice healthy compost with live organisms to help break down the soil and make nutrients more available would be better, and possibly cheaper. Or you can make your own compost, but that takes a while. 

Since you didn't tell us what plants you purchased, we recommend that you use our Native Plant Database to look each one up in order to understand how much water, sun and space each needs. And don't wait long too get them planted, they all need to get out of those pots into some real dirt before it starts getting hot.

 

 

More Soils Questions

Plants for sunny dry soil location
August 22, 2010 - Do any native plants exist in a highly sunny very dry soil location? (high overhang prevents rain but allows sun)
view the full question and answer

Problems with water oaks from Laurel MS
October 05, 2013 - The leaves on my mature water oak trees have been falling since the leaves matured. My area has had an abundance of rain this year, 11 inches above normal. All the trees in my area are doing the same....
view the full question and answer

Tree to plant on rocky soil in San Antonio
March 10, 2012 - I want to plant a tree in a particular spot in the yard but after digging down 10 inches I hit solid rock. I filled the hole with water and it took hours for it to go down. It is one of the higher e...
view the full question and answer

Source for information on Habiturf from Utopia, TX
February 25, 2014 - During a recent Central Texas Gardener TV show, someone from the Center mentioned that your Habiturf was going to be available as sod from someone in the San Antonio area this spring. Is that true an...
view the full question and answer

Adapting to clay soils in British Columbia
April 11, 2006 - What can I use to break down the clay content in my flower bed. It has a high concentration of clay and I want to plant treat it so I can plant flowers in it.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center