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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - April 05, 2011

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting
Title: Native sun plants for Bastrop TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in the Bastrop area and have a 21 ft. by 15 ft. sunny area. We also need help with a list of native plants and want to start planting from tallest to short. Can you please advise?

ANSWER:

When you say "tallest to shortest" we really don't know exactly what you mean. Is it from trees to lawn grass? Or tall herbaceous blooming plants at the back of the border and shorties in the front? Either way, we will guide you to our Native Plant Database where you can pick and choose the kinds of native plants for your space, including the heights, colors, etc. Since we're not sure of just what range of what plants you are looking for, we will walk you through herbs (herbaceous blooming plants, not basil and lavender), shrubs, trees and grasses.

Before you begin choosing plants, check how long the sun is on various spots (you said sunny, but is there shade some places some times?), what the soil is like, whether irrigation is accessible. Because you are east of the Escarpment, you probably have a little bit deeper soil than the Austin area, but still alkaline to neutral. If you really want to know what your soil is, contact the Extension Office for Bastrop County, and they can make arrangements to test the soil. This time of year (Spring) is a better time for enjoying the plants you put in last Fall and Winter than for planting. The heat is already rising, and the rainfall totals are falling. Particularly for woody plants, trees and shrubs, it would probably be better if you waited until November or later to plant them. But you wanted a list of plants, so we'll get on with showing you how to make your list, and you can make your own decisions on what plants, when and where. 

Begin by going to Recommended Species, and click on Central Texas on the map. This will give you a list of plants of all kinds that grow well in Central Texas. Go to the sidebar on the right hand side and select "herb" under General Appearance, and "sun" under Light Requirements, and Narrow Your Search. This will give you a list of 49 herbaceous blooming plants. Using the same technique with shrubs yields 22 sources, trees-33 and grasses-17. We'll go through and make one suggestion from each group, and you can follow the plant link to our page on that plant to get information on expeced size, sun and moisture needs, bloom times and color, propagation and benefits of that plant.

Herbaceous blooming plant: Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis) - 1 to 3 ft. tall, perennial, evergreen, blooms yellow April to June, sun, part shade or shade

Shrub: Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) - perennial, evergreen, blooms white, pink, purple January to December, sun, part shade

Tree: Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) - deciduous, blooms white, pink, purple March to April, sun, part shade

Grass: Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly) - 2 to 5 ft., perennial, semi-evergreen

 

From the Image Gallery


Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

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