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
1 rating

Wednesday - July 28, 2010

From: Humble, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Planting, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Wildflowers
Title: Perennials for flower bed in Humble TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 10 foot by 10 foot flower bed that needs to be replanted and I am located in Houston, TX so what would be some good perennials to plant that are good to grow in this heat? I have been told Lantanas but need a few more suggestions. Thanks

ANSWER:

First of all, don't plant anything now, in mid-summer. Perennials are best planted late in the Fall, or, if you have access to bedding plants, early in the spring. Planted from seed, they will bloom the second season; from bedding plants they might bloom the first year, but more profusely the second year. Use the time between now and planting time to prepare your bed by working in some compost and removing every weed you can get your hands on. Don't spray with herbicides, they can be retained in the soil and damage the plants you do want.

We are going to also suggest some annual wildflowers that are native to your area that you can seed in the fall, and they will bloom in the spring while your perennials are developing, and then re-seed in future years to continue to give diversity to the bed. If you prefer only perennials, of course, you don't have to do this, but the annual wildflowers are beautiful. 

On the subject of lantana, there is only one native to Texas that is particularly attractive for a garden,  Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena). What you are going to see in the nurseries are hybrids of non-native tropical species of the genus lantana.  While often spectacular, they can become invasive and when a problem arises with the plant, it is so hybridized that determining the problem becomes very difficult. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we will recommend not only plants native to North America, but also to the area in which they are being grown. You can go to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state in the Enter Search Location box, and you will get a list of native plant seed suppliers, nurseries and consultants in your general area. Follow the plant links below to learn the light requirements, projected size, bloom color and time as well as growing conditions for each plant. You can go to our Recommended Species. click on East Texas on the map and find more selections. Also, we would suggest you look at some shrubs, using the same search technique.

Annuals for a garden in Harris County, TX:

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Lupinus subcarnosus (Texas bluebonnet)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Perennials for a garden in Harris County, TX: 

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Hibiscus coccineus (scarlet rosemallow)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

Phlox pilosa (downy phlox)

Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Coreopsis tinctoria

Gaillardia pulchella

Lupinus subcarnosus

Salvia coccinea

Asclepias tuberosa

Conoclinium coelestinum

Hibiscus coccineus

Monarda fistulosa

Phlox divaricata

Phlox pilosa

Ratibida columnifera

 

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Planting under Pine Trees in Pocatello ID
April 08, 2014 - Hi I was wondering if you could give me some ideas of what I could plant under and near some pine trees for my area. The trees are huge and so it is also constant shade where I want to plant. Thanks f...
view the full question and answer

Can Carolina wild petunia be planted over septic tank in Nokomis FL
July 10, 2011 - Could you tell me the root depth of the Ruellia caroliniensis/ Carolina wild petunia? Trying to determine if I can plant it over septic tank.
view the full question and answer

Plants for pool area in Florida
May 09, 2008 - My husband and I have a pool with 4 planters and are looking for plants that we can put into our screened in pool area. We live in Central Florida and looking for ideas of plants that are slow growin...
view the full question and answer

Will maroon and Texas Bluebonnets prosper in Richland MO?
July 02, 2013 - I live in Richland, MO and have obtained both Maroon and Texas Bluebonnet seeds from Fredricksburg, TX. Will they prosper in this area and when is the best time to plant? I have read how and what type...
view the full question and answer

Raised beds over lateral lines in Solgohachia AR
January 02, 2010 - I would like to build raised flower beds over my lateral lines. They would be planted with strawberries and perennials. Will this cause any problems with the absorption into the ground or not lettin...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center