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

Tuesday - August 02, 2011

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rainwater Harvesting, Cacti and Succulents, Shrubs, Wildflowers
Title: Native Plant Suggestions for Dripping Springs
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I have a very dry commercial property in Dripping Springs TX where the dry sand/dust isn't a good rain conductor (whenever we get rain). What can we plant there? We have no irrigation and use a rain water collection system only. We guess a grass or a totally drought tolerant groundcover would be our answer Thanks!!

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants sympathizes with your plight - - but - You've come to the right place!

Native plants are your answer; after all, they grew and adapted to the soil and weather conditions here and they certainly have the best chances at success.  Although..... this is one of the hardest summers we have had in record.  You should perhaps delay any planting until the fall, or at least until enough water has come to give your plants a chance at successfully establishing themselves. Once established, any native plant should be able to hold its own with a minimum  of care.

Now, you asked "what can you plant"?  There are a lot of choices out there.  The Wildflower Center keeps lists of recommended species.  You would want to use the list for Central Texas or perhaps the one for the Edwards Plateau. I tried to sort the Edwards Plateau list to get  only those adapted to dry soil, with no signs of moisture, and the list only shrank by 1/3 [to 256 species], so you have lots of choices to work with.

If you are looking for a grass, then Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) is a native that is well adapted to this climate.  The Wildflower Center has been doing a fair bit of research and recommends a 3-grass mix as the best approach.  Other individual grasses that have a good appearance include Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly) or Nassella tenuissima (Mexican feathergrass)Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage) would look good amongst the grasses.

Cactus/Succulents are always hardy to dry climates.  Consider Hesperaloe parviflora (Red yucca), Yucca rupicola (Twistleaf yucca), Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) or any of the the classic Agave species.

Wildflowers can add a touch of color.  Conisider Chrysactinia mexicana (Damianita), Dalea greggii (Gregg dalea), Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup) or any of several Verbena species.

So, here are some good choices.  As I noted above, there are 256 species on the list, most of which will be suited to your growing conditions!  For even more information, you can read the Wasowski Books listed in the references, you can visit the City of Austin "Grow Green" website, check out the Hays County Extension Office, or just c'mon in to the Wildflower Center and visit with us!

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Twistleaf yucca
Yucca rupicola

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Gregg dalea
Dalea greggii

Damianita
Chrysactinia mexicana

More Wildflowers Questions

Seeding time for wildflower annuals and perennials in New York
October 27, 2006 - We have a large area of open land in front of our house and would like to dedicate part of it to wildflowers. I purchased some perenial seeds and would like to know if I can plant these this fall? T...
view the full question and answer

Locales for photographing wildflowers in Dallas, TX area
April 17, 2007 - My daughter has a project for school where she has to find and take her picture with 20 different Texas wildflowers and identify them. We have found some of the more common ones, but I was wondering ...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets planted in late spring bloom, will they bloom again?
February 06, 2008 - New to South Texas & we decided to plant bluebonnets around our house. The seeds were planted in late spring & we were delighted to watch them start their initial growth-cycle. They ultimately produc...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping a Fence with Native Plants for Central Texas
March 08, 2013 - I'm looking to landscape my fence that I've lined with woven bamboo. The area gets the hot afternoon sun in summer and is pretty shady in winter. The plants need to be drought and heat tolerant. I'...
view the full question and answer

Seed regrowth through mulch
September 06, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants: I have planted a perennial and wildflower garden and would like to put mulch down to control the weeds and retain moisture. Will the plants that drop their seeds be able to re- ...
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