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

Responsibility for tree limb removal from Kenosha WI
August 02, 2013 - Who is responsible for tree limb removal. Tree limbs are growing in between power wires and are also breaking about to fall. Im renting a house in Kenosha, Wi. Landlord has done nothing.
view the full question and answer

Strawberry tree with yellowing leaves.
June 07, 2009 - Just to add to your statistics, I live in Poulsbo, Washington, very near to Tacoma, Washington. My strawberry tree also has yellowing leaves with some black spots. I will take your advice with the iro...
view the full question and answer

Why do we exclude Mexican plant species?
November 17, 2008 - Thanks for all your great help and your wonderful website. I have been wondering why you exclude Mexico from "North American" native plants? I live in Austin and it seems like the flora and fauna ...
view the full question and answer

Retention of essential oils by Ashe Juniper wood from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I am looking for information on why local Austin Juniper/Cedar trees are so great at retaining essential oils for aromatherapy. I make pendants for necklaces out of our local fallen cedar trees and ...
view the full question and answer

Support for non-native, invasive Nandina Domestica from San Antonio, TX
July 09, 2013 - I consider nandina domestica to be a perfect plant for San Antonio, but see that it is on the list of invasive plants for surrounding eco-areas. How should I respond regarding one of my favorite land...
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