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

Monday - April 19, 2010

From: Cape Coral, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Tropical plants for a pool-side planter in Cape Coral FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Southwest Florida and have a pool inside a cage with a pool planter built into the deck around part of the pool. What kind of tropical plants can I put in the planter that are not root invasive so as to not cause damage to the pool walls.

ANSWER:

The first problem we have with dealing with your question is that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. That doesn't include a whole lot of "tropical" plants, although Florida is the poster state for having non-native tropicals in their landscapes. We can't recommend any of those, because they are out of our expertise.

We will look in our Native Plant Database for plants native to Cape Coral, Lee County, Florida on the southwestern coast of the peninsula, USDA Hardiness Zones 9b to 10a. First, however, we would like for you to read two of our How-To Articles, A Guide to Native Plant Gardening and Container Gardening with Native Plants. In terms of the roots interfering with your pool wall, since we do not know the exact space involved, we will confine our choices to herbaceous blooming plants that will not have such expansive roots, and perhaps a small shrub or two. We also don't know how much sun these planters will get, so we will choose plants without selecting on Light Requirements. You can follow each plant link to our page on that plant, and determine if it is suitable for your purposes.

Shrubs for Cape Coral FL:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Gaylussacia dumosa (dwarf huckleberry)

Hibiscus moscheutos (crimsoneyed rosemallow)

Herbaceous blooming plans for Cape Coral FL:

Helianthus debilis (cucumberleaf sunflower)

Ipomopsis rubra (standing-cypress)

Liatris tenuifolia (shortleaf blazing star) - pictures and more information

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callicarpa americana

Gaylussacia dumosa

Hibiscus moscheutos

Helianthus debilis

Ipomopsis rubra

Lobelia cardinalis

Salvia coccinea

 

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Getting rid of Aphids on Asclepias plants in Brea, CA.
July 23, 2012 - I grow asclepsias or MILKWEED for the benefit of Monarchs. At times I have aphids consuming the leaves. How can I destroy the aphids without harming the Monarch eggs? Thank you very much.
view the full question and answer

Ground Arizona ash wood suitable for mulch?
April 23, 2015 - We cut down a 40 year old Arizona ash tree and had the stump ground into mulch. Can we use this mulch in our vegetable garden and flower beds
view the full question and answer

Indian Paintbrush outnumbering our Bluebonnets this year.
May 26, 2015 - We noticed we have more Indian paintbrush than bluebonnets in our front yard this year. Our issue is we also have more spear grass than normal. Is there a way to control this grass without killing th...
view the full question and answer

Different colors of Argemone spp. from McAllen TX
March 16, 2014 - I took pictures of at least 5 colors of pricklepoppy today. Is this common to have so many colors in one area? How do I harvest the seedpods and when is the best time to do so?
view the full question and answer

Removal of invasive roots of Turks Cap in College Station TX
April 29, 2014 - I know people have asked you questions about propagating Turk's Cap, but my question is a little different. I have this plant growing in several locations, because I have a large garden with lots...
view the full question and answer

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