Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants resistant to salt spray in FL
December 18, 2011 - What type of plants can I put in a small planter bed next to a waterfall with a saltwater pool? Everything I put in there dies. I live in Southwest Florida.
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling plants for a shady Minnesota lakeside
August 11, 2015 - I live about 50 yards from a lake and there is a steep embankment. Recently someone decided to cut the trees off the embankment and now the dirt is eroding off the embankment as well as off my back ya...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for full sun in Austin
April 03, 2009 - I am looking for a tough, native TX plant to put in full sun location between the sidewalk and street. I would love for it to flower all summer. There is some irrigation but not much. I don't want ...
view the full question and answer

Can bastard cabbage be eaten from Austin
May 02, 2013 - On a local cooking show they were talking about cooking local foods and mentioned bastard cabbage but never showed how to cook it or if it was in fact edible. Would be a way to help get rid of it if ...
view the full question and answer

Native violets under maples from Gettysburg PA
July 06, 2012 - Just for your info (no need to post or reply), I saw an old post of a question of something to grow under maples. In central PA, native violets grow very well under several species of maples in lawns...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.