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
1 rating

Monday - May 16, 2011

From: Hattiesburg, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Soils, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants for red clay in Hattiesburg, MS
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Looking for plants and flowers to plant in red clay?

ANSWER:

We don't know if the flooding that is going on in Mississippi right now is affecting you, but we would imagine that the clay in your garden is the least of your worries. Assuming that you will be able to garden there again, we will make some long range suggestions and help you find plants that can adapt to a clay soil. 

We will recommend only plants native to your area of Mississippi. This is the commitment of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, that of using native plants, because those plants will be accustomed by centuries of experience to the rainfall, soils and climate of that area. They will need less water, and virtually no fertilizer and will be more resistant to insect damage and disease. You can go to the page on each plant to learn what soils it tolerates, as well as how much sun it can take, and so forth.

We will go first to our Recommended Species section and select on Mississippi on the map. That will give us a list of 143  plants native to Mississippi that are usually commercially available and considered dependable in that area. Since you did not mention anything about the amount of sun available or soil moisture, we will leave that for you to find on your search. On the right hand sidebar, select "herb" (herbaceous blooming plants) under General Appearance and Narrow Your Search, giving you a choice of 48 herbaceous blooming plants. If you watch the areas where you want to plant, you could log the number of hours each area is in the sun. We consider "sun" to be six or more hours of sunlight a day, "part sun" 2 to 6 hours, and "shade", less than 2 hours. You can also select trees, shrubs, succulents, grasses and ferns in the same way, as well as different light requirements and even bloom color and time of blooming. We will try to find some plants without regard to sun times but searching for toleration of clay soils, and you can refine your search later.

There are also things you can do to remediate clay soil, to give it better drainage and access by the tiny new roots of plants to the nutrients in the soil. From gardenguides.com here is an article on Composting for Clay Soil. Another article, from Fine Gardening, discusses Improving Clay Soil.

Follow each plant link to our page on that plant and note the soil types, sun time and water needs.

Herbaceous Blooming Plants for Clay Soil in Forrest County MS:

Callirhoe papaver (Woodland poppy-mallow)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

From our Image Gallery:


Callirhoe papaver


Coreopsis lanceolata


Lobelia cardinalis


Monarda fistulosa

 

 

 

More Soils Questions

Effects of patio under large tree
July 17, 2008 - I would like to put in a patio under a fairly large tree. I understand a tree needs some open ground around it for air and water. Can I use flagstone leaving 6-10 inches of space between the stones?...
view the full question and answer

Damage to native elm in Texas
August 20, 2008 - We had a major landscape renovation done over the winter. One of the trees, an elm about 10 yrs old, remained in the bed although plants around it were removed. The tree has suddenly started turning...
view the full question and answer

Potting soil mixture at Wildflower Center from Austin
August 14, 2012 - What potting soil mixture does the Wildflower Center use in its greenhouses for the native plants grown for the Austin Native Plant sales? Is the pH adjusted to match the alkaline soils in this area? ...
view the full question and answer

Native grass mix for Bastrop County, TX
February 25, 2014 - I plan to put in a small lawn on a tract of land near Rosanky, TX in Bastrop County. There are scattered oaks but the yard space will be mostly open. Soil is basically sandy. Is there a good native...
view the full question and answer

Growing Evergreen sumac in clay soil of Texas
August 19, 2011 - I'm in need of a fast growing evergreen screening shrub/small tree. I'm considering the Evergreen Sumac but before I go further I need to know if this plant will thrive and remain evergreen in the D...
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