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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 08, 2011

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shrubs
Title: A 3-6 ft. high overwintering container plant
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I live in Austin, Tx. and am looking for a plant/shrub that I can keep in a ceramic pot through out the winter. It can grow to from 3 feet to six feel.

ANSWER:

Your choice of plants will depend upon the size of your pot and the exposure of the plant to the elements.  Assuming that you have a pot of diameter about two feet and placed in at least partial direct sun, I will recommend the following cold-hardy native plants:

For the standard conifer:  Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) or Juniperus pinchotii (Pinchot's juniper).  These species can grow much larger than six feet, but you can control their size by occasional trimming.

For evergreen broadleaf plants: Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) or Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac). These are relatively slow-growing and have attractive flowers and/or fruit.

Deciduous: Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) loses its leaves in winter but has colorful red berries that persist until spring.

Some other possibilities that grow only 2-5 ft in height: Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly)Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto)Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) and rosemary (not native to this area).

You might consider an evergreen vine climbing on a small trellis: Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine) or Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle).

Before making your choice, check out the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center article on Container Gardening for tips.  Remember the hot, dry summers that may lie ahead and plan a system to keep the container soil watered appropriately.  All of the suggested plants are fairly drought-resistant, but some moreso than others.

Below find some images from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Image Gallery.

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Pinchot's juniper
Juniperus pinchotii

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

More Container Gardens Questions

Native plants for container gardens in Central Texas
March 11, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I moved to TX last year, for now living in an apartment with a good-size but shady deck; my garden in VA was full of VA native plants. What TX natives, if any, can I grow in ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for poolside in Central Texas
August 21, 2010 - What native plants would your recommend for poolside landscaping, and poolside containers? Tons of sun and white limestone patio.. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Non-native house plants stressed from Allen TX
July 30, 2011 - I have three house plants that were plants I received from my father's funeral services. They were healthy for about two years and then we added some soil and now they are turning brown and appear t...
view the full question and answer

Return of empty Plant Sale pots from Austin
April 20, 2010 - Would the WFC want the empty plant containers back? I live near the center and could drop off quite a few containers, along with plastic tags. Let me know where, if so.
view the full question and answer

Gregg's mistflower in pot from Vail AZ
August 04, 2012 - I recently bought a Gregg's Mist plant and don't know much about it. I live in Arizona and was wondering how well the plant will do if I plant it in a large ceramic pot? Will it continue to grow? ...
view the full question and answer

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