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?


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

Tuesday - April 05, 2011

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


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?


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

Leucophyllum frutescens

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

More Planting Questions

Varieties of Ceanothus suitable for Illinois
September 07, 2012 - Ceanothus Velutinus is the smell of western Montana, my home, to me, and I have relocated to Illinois. I miss it so much that whenever I go home I bring back a jar of ceanothis leaves and keep th...
view the full question and answer

January good time to plant live oak in January from Manor TX
January 19, 2014 - I want to plant a Live Oak in January. Is this a good time to plant it?
view the full question and answer

Planning garden tasks in advance from Austin
January 03, 2012 - My yard was a disaster last year-grass and trees browning, early leaf fall on flowering plants, and water bills sky high, even with the limited watering days. What can I do this year to prevent this s...
view the full question and answer

Growing Chilopsis in Florida
July 25, 2013 - I live in St. Johns County, FL between Jacksonville and St Augustine. I live inland, not near the beach. I bought a small desert willow plant in Victoria, TX and brought it back to FL to grow. I plan ...
view the full question and answer

Timing for transplanting a yaupon in Louisiana
January 01, 2009 - I found a female yaupon growing wild at the back of my property and would like to move it to the front. When should I do this?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center