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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Monday - May 07, 2012

From: Port Allen, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Ferns, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Pool-side ornamentals for south Louisiana
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

We live in south Louisiana and are re-doing the plants around our pool. What are some low maintenance, small shrubs (flowering) or other ornamentals that would be good in this area?

ANSWER:

I can list quite a few suitable native plants for your area.  Since I do not know whether your pool is sunny or shady, you should read the info on each of my suggestions to determine whether it would suit your light conditions. 

First, a few shrubs.  Rhododendron canescens (Mountain azalea) will offer showy white flowers in spring, and Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)(a dwarf variety) has bright red berries in winter.  Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel) flowers in winter, and Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) bears pink berries from fall into winter.

A vine worth considering for its late winter yellow flowers is Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina jessamine).

Check the following list for native plants suited to your site:  Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed), Athyrium filix-femina (Common ladyfern)Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats), Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower), Hymenocallis caroliniana (Carolina spider-lily), Iris brevicaulis (Zigzag iris), Iris giganticaerulea (Blue flag). Liatris pycnostachya (Prairie blazing star), Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower), Penstemon murrayanus (Scarlet beardtongue), Polemonium carneum (Royal jacob's-ladder) and Viola pedata (Birdfoot violet).

Check the Louisiana Native Plant Society web site list of local suppliers of these and other native plants.  Also, this  web site lists some recommended non-native plants suited to Louisiana.

 

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