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Mr. Smarty Plants - Container plants for cool weather in Cypress TX

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Sunday - October 02, 2011

From: cypress, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shade Tolerant, Cacti and Succulents, Ferns, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Container plants for cool weather in Cypress TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am a novice gardener and I am looking for some ideas on potted plants for the fall/winter. They would be covered by a roof, but still susceptible to the elements. What can be planted now that will survive? I live in Cypress, TX.

ANSWER:

Goody! We love novice gardeners, because we can help them get in the right track, which includes using native plants, contributing to conservation of resources. Read our How-To Article on A Guide to Native Plant Gardening. And, specifically for your purposes, also see our Container Gardening with Native Plants.

In that vein, we wish to point out that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will recommend only plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow natively. Cypress, in Harris County, is in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b. Many of the plants considered appropriate for containers you will see for sale in nurseries are not native, and often are tropicals or sub-tropicals which would freeze in frosts like your area had last Winter. We really can't think of much that would provide blooming or color during the winter, particularly in a covered area with little or no sun. From experience, we will try to come up with some types of native plants that could thrive in pot culture.

There are a number of native succulents that can, surprisingly, tolerate quite a bit of shade. We consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun a day, "part shade."  2 to 6 hours of sun and "shade" less than 2 hours. Keep an eye on the area you are planning to use for container plants and decide which parts of it will get how much sun, so you can decide from our suggestions what will have a good chance.  Follow each plant link on our list below to the webpage on that plant for more information on what kind of soils those plants need, how much water, how much sunlight. A lot of succulents that are commonly sold are cacti or other prickly plants, not recommended if you have small children or pets that might get involved with the plants.

Succulents for a shady area in Cypress TX:

Echeveria strictiflora (Desert savior)

Manfreda maculosa (False aloe)

Manfreda variegata (Mottled tuberose)

Yucca pallida (Pale-leaf yucca)

Now for some ferns, which will, of course, not bloom at all, but we will choose evergreen ferns that will be attractive all year round.

Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern maidenhair fern)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chainfern)

Finally, there are some evergreen plants that have attractive leaves and, in summer with more light, will bloom nicely. These are both salvias, sturdy, attractive plants native to Texas.

Salvia azurea (Pitcher sage)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)

 

From the Image Gallery


Desert savior
Echeveria strictiflora

Mottled tuberose
Manfreda variegata

Southern maidenhair fern
Adiantum capillus-veneris

Netted chainfern
Woodwardia areolata

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

False aloe
Manfreda maculosa

Pale-leaf yucca
Yucca pallida

Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

Pitcher sage
Salvia azurea

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