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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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Saturday - June 23, 2012

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Planting, Cacti and Succulents, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees, Vines
Title: Plants for 100 gal. pot by pool from Ft. Worth TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What North Texas evergreen or combination of evergreen plants, bushes or trees could thrive in a huge, 100-gallon clay pot (immovable!) that is situated in full sun year round in an exposed area next to a swimming pool? Thanks!

ANSWER:

We have a How-To Article on Container Gardens for Native Plants that you should read. It doesn't directly deal with such a huge container, nor have we ever tried to design one. The first thing we need to ask is does the superpot have drain hole(s)? If not, that's Job 1. You probably can't roll it over to drill through the bottom, but very near the base and several spaced holes should do it. We can't advise you on how to do it, we're not into mechanical things.

Second, there are decisions you will have to make yourself, based on the depth and/or width of the pot. We would not suggest any woody plants that would produce a lot of roots. Those roots could, in time, crack and damage the pot and then you would have all the plants in the pot in need of transplanting at once.

The next thing you are going to have to do is decide on the soil to fill the pot. If it already has soil in it, it needs to be tested to see if it is alkaline, acidic, standard potting soil or what? If it is just native soil of your area, then it is probably alkaline. Certainly before you plant anything, you should add compost or other organic materials to make the soil looser and better draining.

One thought that occurs to us is that this pot would make a heck of a water garden, if it has not already had holes drilled in it. To consider this possibility, read our How-To Article on Water Gardening. When you read that article, you will learn that there are not very many plants for water gardens native to Central Texas, and some non-natives could become invasive. If you are interested in going in this direction, check out this link to the North Texas Water Garden Society.

But we digress, your specific question was for specific plants for your huge pot. About the best we can do is lead you to our Native Plant Database and give you some instruction in using it. Our normal method is to recommend plants native to North America as well as to the area in which the plants are being grown. In this case, we are going to refer you to the Recommended Species for North Central Texas. On the right-hand sidebar on that page, you can first select the Habit or General Appearance, then the amount of sunlight, even bloom time and color, and desired height of plant. We will give you one example of each, using the specification of Full Sun, and you can alter the specifications to suit your purposes. You should know that the more specifications you put in, the fewer possibilities will be given, or perhaps none at all. Follow each plant link to learn the preferred growing conditions, size, water needs and whether it is evergreen or deciduous. Since your pot is in full sun, ferns do not seem plausible for the space, and no subshrubs were listed when we looked for that.

Plants native to North Central Texas for large pot:

Herb (herbaceous blooming plant)-Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Shrub - Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Flame acanthus)

Small tree - Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye)

Cactus/Succulent -Hesperaloe parviflora (Red yucca)

Grass/Grasslike - Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly)

Vine - Bignonia capreolata (Crossvine)

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Flame acanthus
Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Mexican buckeye
Ungnadia speciosa

Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Crossvine
Bignonia capreolata

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