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
1 rating

Thursday - April 06, 2006

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Xeriscapes, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Xeriscaping in clay on a slope in Fort Worth
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Xeriscaping in clay (Fort Worth) on a slope -- Please offer suggestions and publications. Thanks

ANSWER:

Since xeriscaping basically means landscaping with plants that can survive on normal rainfall, plants native to the Fort Worth area would probably do best for you, and there are many plants that do well in Fort Worth clays.

For a slope, grasses would be good because their fibrous roots hold the soil and help prevent erosion. A good regional grass with a great vertical form is Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). For vibrant color against the blue-green of Little Bluestem, try flowers like Greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium), Foxglove Penstemon (Penstemon cobea), and Winecups (Callirhoe involucrata). Local yuccas such as Arkansas Yucca (Yucca arkansana) and Pale-Leaf Yucca (Yucca pallida) would make nice accent plants. A local shrub with attractive fall color is Fragrant Sumac (Rhus trilobata), and the ornamental tree Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa) has pink blooms in the early spring.

Additional ideas for landscaping in the Forth Worth area can be found in Sally and Andy Wasowski's Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region. It contains both a Blackland plan (for black clay soils) and a Post Oak plan for North Texas areas dominated by Post Oaks.

For further species ideas, have a look at our Regional Factpack for your area. Our National Suppliers Directory can help you find sources for local plant material.

 

From the Image Gallery


Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Stiff greenthread
Thelesperma filifolium

Prairie penstemon
Penstemon cobaea

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Arkansas yucca
Yucca arkansana

Pale-leaf yucca
Yucca pallida

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Mexican buckeye
Ungnadia speciosa

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

How to have year round color in the garden in Fort Worth
October 23, 2010 - Hello, I'm sending an SOS for a miracle! Since planting is the best now during the fall or so I've been told for North Texas Native Perennials, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. My beautifully mat...
view the full question and answer

Why is fall the best time to plant Bluebonnet seeds?
May 29, 2015 - Bluebonnet plants drop their seeds in late May or early June. Why is it recommended to broadcast Bluebonnet seeds in October which is 5 months after the plant drops its seeds?
view the full question and answer

Silver ponyfoot becoming invasive in College Station TX
May 08, 2013 - How can I control or get rid of an established Dichondra groundcover? I bought a few plants of D. argentea from your sale a few years ago, and in that time they've done really well in the area I plan...
view the full question and answer

Defenses against imported red leaf beetles on lilies
August 06, 2007 - I've recently discovered small red beetles of some kind on my lilies, which they are happily devouring. I've been picking them off with my fingers and squashing them, but I'd like a better alterna...
view the full question and answer

What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
view the full question and answer

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