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?

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
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

Thursday - June 03, 2010

From: Black Creek, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Short flowering plant that will grow in sand in Black Creek WI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to know what kind of flowering plant would grow good in sand? A short plant.

ANSWER:

There are not many plants that short, and something that will grow in sand in east central Wisconsin, USDA Hardiness Zones 4b to 5a is even more rare. We found a few, as examples, and will tell you how to use our database to find more. Since we were not sure what "short" meant to you, we stayed in the range of 1 to 2 ft. tall; if you considered something a little taller, that would give you more range of choice. When we search for plants, we search for plants native to the state from which the question comes. There might be a whole lot more plants that qualified in, say, Utah, but they wouldn't grow in Wisconsin.

If you wish to make your own list, we'll give you instructions for using our Native Plant Database. First, go to our Recommended Species section, and click on Wisconsin on the map. You will get a list of all the plants we recommend that are native to Wisconsin. On the sidebar of drop-down menus, click on General Appearance. We first chose "Herbs," (herbaceous blooming plants) because they have the best chance of being short. We got a list of 94 possibilities. On the list, unless we knew without looking that it was too tall, we clicked on the scientific name, which took us to the webpage on that plant. Usually (but not always) there is a size range in the first paragraph or further down the page; if it was more than 2 ft. tall, we went on to the next plant. When we found one of an acceptable height, we scrolled down the page to "Growing Conditions." Some plants don't have this, probably because we have never gotten that information. But most will include the type of soil this plant grows in; when we found one that said "sand" or "sandy soil," that went on our list. We did notice that many more of the plants native to Wisconsin call for moist, rich soils, or soils with lots of humus in them.  Sand does not qualify, but some did say the plant grew in rocky, sandy soil. Now, if you really want to know if the plant will grow in your area, make sure you know approximately where Outagamie County appears in Wisconsin, then scroll down to where it says:

Additional resources

USDA: Find Anemone canadensis in USDA Plants (or whatever the plant is you are looking at the webpage for.)

FNA: Find Anemone canadensis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Anemone canadensis

Click on the scientific name of the plant in USDA Plants; this will show all the states and Canadian provinces (in green) where that specific plant is known to grow. Then, click on the outline of Wisconsin on that map, and you will get a map of the state, with green in the counties where the plant grows. If the counties where it will grow occur are fairly close to your area, you can usually count on that being a viable choice. If you want still more information on that plant, click on the Search Google line, which will give you several choices of information resources on that plant. 

For more choices besides the herbaceous blooming plants, you can go back and repeat the search by indicating "Shrubs" on the drop-down index for General Appearance. Most shrubs will be taller than our chosen height of 1 to 2 ft., but there will be a few. Finally, we tried "Cacti and Succulents" under General Appearance, and found one that was short. Wisconsin generally isn't a cactusy kind of place. 

We are going to list the ones that we found that fit your qualifiers; we certainly did not find all the plants that fit your profile, by a mile, so you can keep looking and find more. If you want all the short plants that will grow in sand in North America, including Canada, just leave "All states and provinces" in the State or Province drop-down menu. If you are thinking of a specific space in your garden, it would help if you indicated how much sunlight the spot had, and the soil moisture on the same sidebar on the right side. 

Short Herbaceous Blooming Plants that Grow in Sand around Outagamie Co., Wisconsin:

Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone)

Asarum canadense (Canadian wildginger)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Dodecatheon meadia (pride of Ohio)

Short Shrubs that Grow in Sand around Outagamie Co., Wisconsin: 

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Short Succulents that Grow in Sand around Outagamie Co., Wisconsin: 

Opuntia macrorhiza (twistspine pricklypear)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Anemone canadensis

Asarum canadense

Campanula rotundifolia

Dodecatheon meadia

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Opuntia macrorhiza

 

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants that will grow in clay in North Carolina
March 14, 2008 - I have a small fenced back yard, predominately hard red clay, that is a major focal point. I am designing my own garden/yard area (to cut cost) and have a list of plants that will grow in this soil w...
view the full question and answer

Specimen evergreen for sun in Central Texas
August 28, 2010 - I'm soliciting suggestions for a specimen plant for a new garden we're building. It will be planted in a 3' square raised (18") Limestone bed. It will be full sun, Western exposure, and relative...
view the full question and answer

Failure of tall garden phlox buds to open in St. Louis MO
July 30, 2009 - Why won't the buds of my tall garden phlox open? Plants are apparently healthy, no powdery mildew or visible insects, foliage looks great and buds are profuse but they don't open. I have two clumps ...
view the full question and answer

Care for Blackfoot daisy?
June 05, 2009 - Hi, I have two blackfoot daisies and one has died. I've planted them in full sun on a well drained slope. Do these ususally die after blooming? Should I cut the other one back? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Plants for underneath oak tree
October 10, 2012 - I have a North facing wall of my house that gets half sunlight half shade depending on the season. I would like to layout some native South Texas plants and complete fill in area to prevent the live o...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center