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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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Thursday - June 28, 2012

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Drought Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Blue Natives for San Antonio
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

What are the best flowers or trees to buy since we are always in stage 2 and sometimes in stage 3 water conservation? I love flowers that are blue, preferably year around. THANK YOU

ANSWER:

You’ve come to the right place!   Native Flowers and Trees have evolved to live successfully in this climate, so they should be adapted well enough that they can survive our harsh summers all by themselves!  If you can water them a little bit, you will be rewarded with some very healthy plants.

We’ve got a great way to find local native trees and plants that flower blue.  However, I don’t believe any of them flower year around, that’s the realm of plastic plants!  Here’s how you can find some suggestions.

We have a set of recommended plants for nearly every area of the US.  If you check out the recommended plants for Central Texas, there is a option to the side where you can select only native plants that flower in the blue.   This option leaves 12 plants to choose from!    As you want year-around blue – you may want to consider an interplanting of plants that bloom at differing times. This way it’s possible that you can have one or more plants with blue blossoms visible most of the year!  The list below has this list of blue bloomers for Central Texas by the first month it may bloom and with the possible length in parenthesis.

February Bloomers:   Tradescantia edwardsiana (Plateau spiderwort) ( 4 months), Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) ( 2 months)

March Bloomer:  Tradescantia gigantea (Giant spiderwort) ( 2 months]

April Bloomers:  Salvia farinacea (Mealy blue sage) ( 7 months),  Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower) ( 6 months), Delphinium carolinianum (Carolina larkspur)  ( 4 months),  Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush) ( 3 months), Tradescantia pedicellata (Edwards plateau spiderwort) ( 2 months),  Salvia engelmannii (Engelmann's sage) ( 2 months)

July Bloomers:   Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower) ( 5 months).  Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo) ( 3 months)

In thinking about this collection, two prime candidates were missing.  The South Texas Plains Collection also applies to San Antonio and Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) [March, 3 months] and Salvia azurea (Pitcher sage) [September, 3 months] did show up there!

Enjoy your nearly year-long blue flowers!

 

From the Image Gallery


Plateau spiderwort
Tradescantia edwardsiana

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Giant spiderwort
Tradescantia gigantea

Mealy blue sage
Salvia farinacea

Purple passionflower
Passiflora incarnata

Prairie larkspur
Delphinium carolinianum

Engelmann's sage
Salvia engelmannii

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Leavenworth's eryngo
Eryngium leavenworthii

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