En Español

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

Monday - March 26, 2012

From: charlotte , NC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Tall perennials for a sunny North Carolina border
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I need border plants for in front of a picket fence along front sidewalk. Space is only approx 1'6" wide and widening is not an option. So far I have daylilies, cannas, Mexican petunias, daisies, irises, and some spring flowering bulbs..the irises are the only ones that provide any winter interest as they don't lose the foliage. Any suggestions re other small sized plants, preferably evergreen (tall, ok, just not wide) that would look good in this space? area is mostly full sun.

ANSWER:

I didn't find any truly evergreen native plants that seemed appropriate for your requirements, but there are many that are tall with a relatively small footprint.  The first five do bloom in autumn, perhaps even into November and December, giving you some late color: Gentianopsis crinita (Greater fringed gentian),  Liatris aspera (Tall blazing star), Liatris spicata (Dense blazing star), Phlox paniculata (Fall phlox), and a Mexican native Salvia elegans (Pineapple sage).  These additional species should also do well in your area.  Ipomopsis rubra (Standing cypress), Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot), Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan), Penstemon canescens (Eastern gray beardtongue), Penstemon australis (Eustis lake beardtongue),Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon), and Physostegia virginiana (Fall obedient plant).  The Fall obedient plant, in particular, tends to spread quickly, but the new shoots can be easily pulled up.

You can find more possible species at the North Carolina Native Plant Society web site.  A list of native plant suppliers in your area is found at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site.

Images of some of the plants mentioned above are shown below, courtesy of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Image Gallery.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Standing cypress
Ipomopsis rubra

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Greater fringed gentian
Gentianopsis crinita

Eastern gray penstemon
Penstemon canescens

Eustis lake penstemon
Penstemon australis

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Tall blazing star
Liatris aspera

Dense blazing star
Liatris spicata

Fall phlox
Phlox paniculata

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Need suggestions for landscaping along a creek in Lenoir, NC
July 25, 2011 - I live in Lenoir, NC and would like to landscape my creek bank that is about 90 feet long and is 200 feet from my house. I thought about evergeen bushes maybe rhododendron; some grasses; a few trees ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with gaura in Kyle TX
May 10, 2011 - Gaura - I seem to have something going on with this plant. I've tried fungicide that also works on mealy bugs and spider mites, etc., but they're looking rather puny? Any suggestions? thanks
view the full question and answer

Flowering native plants for Bastrop, TX
February 20, 2009 - What type of flowering plants, trees,and bushes will grow in Bastrop, Texas? I see lots of things around, please help, have never done before.
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Norman, OK
October 10, 2013 - I have two large plants in my back yard that just sprang up on their own this year. They are beautiful and the butterflies and bees love them. I think they are a type of milkweed, but they don't lo...
view the full question and answer

Something eating Monarda didyma in Washington DC
June 30, 2011 - Please Help, I have a couple of Bee Balm, Jacob Cline, plants, whose leave are being eaten, by what I do not know. None of the nurseries around here seem to have ever heard of this happening to this p...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center