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
3 ratings

Wednesday - May 18, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Year-round flowering in Laredo TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm trying to plant a variety of native plants in my mom's garden in Laredo, TX. The thing that I find a challenge is that she wants year round flowers. Can you suggest a few native flowering plants that can survive the extended (over 100 days) of over 100 degree weather for Laredo. Perhaps species that will do ok and flower in the summer and some that will flower in the winter?

ANSWER:

We think you are correct, that it will take a succession of plants for blooming year-round, or nearly. We have been asked before for lists of plants that will give bloom year round. This, of course, will vary greatly according to the part of the country, the soil, the available moisture, etc. On our Recommended Species page, there is a collection list for "South Texas Plains".

When you look at that South Texas Plains site, you will see a color-coded map of Texas at the top of the page. Laredo is close to the line between South Texas Plains and the Edwards Plateau. However, there are no natural plant barriers between the two areas, and a plant that would grow in one area would probably grow in the other. Here is the description of that area:

"The South Texas Plains lie south of a line from San Antonio to Del Rio. This area is the western extension of the Gulf Coastal Plains merging with the Mexico Plains on the west. The area is a nearly level to rolling, slightly to moderately dissected plain. Upland soils are of three groups: dark, clayey soils over firm clayey subsoils; grayish to reddish brown, loamy to sandy soils; and brown loamy soils. Gray, clayey, saline, and sodic soils are extensive on the coastal fringe, along with Galveston deep sands. Bottomlands are typically brown to gray, calcareous silt loams to clayey alluvial soils."

The climate there is considered hot, semi-arid, with winters that can be cold by South Texas standards. So, it would be best to choose plants from the list of 250 on our recommended list. Your mother is most apt to get her desired year-round blooms from herbaceous blooming plants and shrubs. The blooming plants can be both perennial, to return every year and annual, for long blooming periods and reseeding. Shrubs may take a few years to reach blooming stage, but will last longer in the garden.

We are going to teach you how to use our Native Plant Database and get the kind of information you need for yourself, giving you and your mother an opportunity to choose for shady or sunny situations, color, size and so forth. Return to the "South Texas Plains" site; looking at the sidebar on the right side, select "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant) under General Appearance. We are going to find one sample selection each for January and July, probably the two most difficult months for blooming in that area. For this first round, click on "January" on bloom time. On the next round, we will choose "July" for the bloom time, and then start over selecting "shrub" under General Appearance and the same months. When you get the resulting lists, there will be a small picture - pick one you like (if there is more than one choice), click on the link, and learn all about the plant. You will note that many of the bloom times overlap, as plants will generally bloom more than one month. Here are our samples:

January, herbaceous blooming plant, 1 on list: Hibiscus martianus (Heartleaf rosemallow), blooms red January to December, sun or part shade

July, 26 results: Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage), blooms white, red, pink February to October, sun, part shade or shade

January, shrub, 3 choices: Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo), evergreen, blooms white, pink, purple February to October, sun, part shade or shade

July, 19 choices: Lantana urticoides (Texas lantana), blooms red, orange, yellow April to October, sun

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Hibiscus martianus


Salvia coccinea


Leucophyllum frutescens


Lantana urticoides

 

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plants for a steep slope in New York
June 27, 2010 - We just installed a swimming pool in our back yard, which is at the top of a south facing slope. After the pool was installed the slope is now 3 ft higher and very steep (unmowable). I'd guess steepe...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Trees for Low Maintenance Screen
April 18, 2015 - We live in Pacifica, CA and are looking to plant a row of low maintenance trees in our back yard along our fence, that grow to be a maximum of 15' high, that stay green year round. What do you recomm...
view the full question and answer

Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
November 29, 2009 - Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen shrubs for Butler PA
August 09, 2013 - Here is what I want in a bush: native to Western Pa.(Southern Butler County), appropriate for a horse pasture,fast growing, not too aggressive (I will mow around it regularly and can prune occasionall...
view the full question and answer

Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
March 26, 2006 - I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases fr...
view the full question and answer

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