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
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

Failure of Gerbera daisies in hanging basket
July 08, 2008 - I had perennial Gerbera daisies in a hanging basket, the flowers died,I was not sure whether to remove just the flower or to go from the flower to the stem at the plants main stem? There is nothing re...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Bucks County, PA
February 18, 2009 - I live in Bucks County, PA and I would like to have a garden, but do not have a green thumb. Which plants come back each year that survive in large pots. Are daisies also a good choice for my garden...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for containers on patio in Houston
January 30, 2010 - What native plants in Texas (I live in Houston) will do well in pots on my patio- they get about 1/2 day sunlight. Is there anything shrub-like that will live from year to year? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Small area native plant gardening for an apartment
November 14, 2008 - Mr.Smarty, We live in an apartment and are fortunate to have a small area, 5'x5', and so want color! Here in Houston the winters don't freeze much and the summers are HOT. Luckily, we are in the ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center