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
2 ratings

Monday - April 26, 2010

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens
Title: Maximilian sunflowers in a container in Pflugerville, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can Maximilian sunflowers be grown in a container? How deep and wide would it need to be? Am considering growing them in a stock tank elevated on bricks, with drain holes.

ANSWER:

Since we have no personal experience with Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower), we would like for you to read these comments from Dave's Garden.  If it does, indeed, grow large, spreading roots, you would have to divide it and repot every year. Several of the comments referred to it as invasive and difficult to control. In terms of a pot up on bricks in a tank, that sounds very unstable. We are talking Central Texas, right? And what do we have in Central Texas? Wind, right? These plants get up to 8 to 10 ft. tall, and are somewhat top-heavy, the stalk often bending over with the weight of the big flowers and seeds. We think the first good breeze you have, your sunflowers will have to learn how to swim. 

We don't want you to think we don't like Maximilian sunflowers, we do, but they just really aren't what we would call container plants.  Unlike most sunflowers, they are perennial, and reproduce not only from seeds but from the underground rhizomes, which will rapidly grow them out of a container. They are gorgeous against a fence, but until they begin to bloom from August to November, they are pretty unimpressive. And if you were planning to submerge parts of the pots in the water, don't. They are not water plants, need only dry to moist soil, and their roots would drown before you ever got the chance to see the blooms. Here are some pictures from the Image Archive of Central Texas Plants of various stages and parts of this plant. If you are really interested in planting in your stock tane, go to our Special Collection, Wetland Plants for Central Texas. And a couple of our How-To Articles that also deal with this situation are Container Gardening with Native Plants and Water Gardening.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Helianthus maximiliani

Helianthus maximiliani

Helianthus maximiliani

Helianthus maximiliani

 

 

 

More Container Gardens Questions

Planting Texas Persimmon in enclosed planter from San Angelo TX
May 23, 2013 - I want to plant a Texas Persimmon (in West Texas) in an enclosed planter 4' X 4' X 2.5' deep. What would be a good planting medium. Does it need to be deeper?
view the full question and answer

Planting plumereia and bird of paradise palm outside in Austin
May 23, 2007 - I have a plumeria and a bird of paradise palm in pots that I want to place in the ground. I've seen plumeria's planted in the ground at a house leading to Bryan College Station that seem to have bee...
view the full question and answer

Container Gardening with Texas Native Plants
February 10, 2007 - I live in an apartment in Austin, Texas and want adorn my balcony with a window box this spring. Could you recommend flowers that I could plant that do not need a lot of space to flourish? Also how ma...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for container gardening in Houston
April 26, 2008 - Hi, we live a townhouse community in Houston, TX and have a decent sized backyard. I plan on devoting part of that to plant some potted flowers which are less than 6 ft tall (we can't plant anything ...
view the full question and answer

Indoor lantana tree dropping leaves
November 06, 2008 - I purchased a lantana tree,a lantana hybrid that is only tolerant to 32 degrees. We are zone 5 so I brought it indoors and it only gets the morning sun, and 85%of the leaves have fallen off. The leav...
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