En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Would like a "try instead of" list for non-native plants in Austin, TX.

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 - June 19, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, User Comments
Title: Would like a "try instead of" list for non-native plants in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

It would be so helpful if, when asked about a non-native plant, you would do a "try instead of" list. I have about 45 plants to reseach from my landscaping firm, and it's wearing me out to try to find native alternatives for everything from boxwoods to lorepetalums! Thanks for all you do!

ANSWER:

That is a good idea, but it’s often easier said than done. This previous answer is an example of when it works.
The source of the information was the Native Plant Guide (pg 24) prepared by the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT)-Houston Chapter . It’s part of a program called NICE (Natives Instead of Common Exotics). NICE! is now a registered trademark owned by NPSOT which is headquartered in Boerne, TX. 
The Kerrville Chapter of NPSOT has produced the Blue Brochure  that contains lists of recommended native plants for landscaping in the hill country. By the way, the 32nd annual Native Plant Society Fall Symposium will be held in Kerrville in October. The Austin Chapter  is quite active, and holds its meetings at Wild Basin.

Another source of help is our Native Plant Database . It contain 7,239 species of native plants that can be searched by scientific name, common name or plant family. You can generate lists of plants by using the Recommended Species List option, or the Combination Search option. For example, if you wanted a list of evergreen shrubs suitable for a dry habitat in full sun, that were 6 to 12‘ tall, you could go to the Combination Search box and make the following selections; select Texas under State, shrub under Habit, and perennial under Duration.   Check sun under Light Requirement, dry under Soil moisture, and 6-12’ under height. Click the Submit combination Search button, and you will get a list of 29 native species that match these criteria. Clicking on the scientific name of each species will bring up its NPIN page that contains the characteristics of the plant, its growth requirements and, in most cases, photos.

You can also use the database to check out the characteristics of a plant that you find on other lists.

Although we don’t have an exhaustive “try instead of” list, Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that using a combination of these resources may make your job less exhausting.

 

More User Comments Questions

Thank you Mr. Smarty Plants
October 30, 2007 - No question, just wanted to thank Barbara Medford for her most informative and entertaining reply to my Oct. 2 question on the elimation of nutsedge. THANK YOU!
view the full question and answer

True date for Earth Day
March 09, 2006 - My grandson asked me to verify the correct date for Earth Day 2006. Sites on the internet say (a) Earth Day USA is April 22, 2006. (b) International Earth Day is M...
view the full question and answer

Obtaining a list of Texas native plants
February 16, 2005 - I'm a member of the Lindheimer Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (New Braunfels area) and wanted to get a list of Texas Native Plants for our Chapter to use as our guideline of what is nat...
view the full question and answer

Comment on poisonous sweet pea plant from Kalama WA
October 29, 2011 - No question, comment only. I am aware of the story of Christopher McCandless (Call of the Wild)and the belief that he was poisoned by ingesting part of the sweet pea plant; however I am curious what ...
view the full question and answer

Question about commercial product from Austin
May 19, 2014 - Do you carry AquaSmart Pro? There was an article in today\\\'s Statesman about some Sun City people using AquaSmart Pro to save water on their lawns. I am always skeptical about such panaceas. ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center