En EspaŅol

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?


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
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 - August 14, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Cacti and Succulents, Shrubs
Title: Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.


I'm not sure how big "big" is.   Are the pots 10 gallon pots, 50 gallon pots, 100 gallon pots?   It is important that you match the size of the pot to the size of the plant you want to grow in it.  You should read our How-to Article, CONTAINER GARDENING WITH NATIVE PLANTS, for important advice on growing plants in containers.   I also suggest that you read the answer to a previous question about plants for a 100-gallon pot by pool in Ft. Worth.  Not only will the plants for your pots need to survive the heat and the sun in the summertime, but they will also need to withstand the winter cold temperatures.   With these cautions in mind, here are several plants of various sizes that should fill the bill:

Hesperaloe parviflora (Red yucca) is evergreen and both heat and cold tolerant.  The flower stalks are 5 feet tall.

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) is evergreen and both heat and cold tolerant.  It is 1.5 to 2.5 feet tall.

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto) is evergreen and both heat and cold tolerant.  It can grow 6 to 10 feet tall.

Chrysactinia mexicana (Damianita) is a smaller (1 to 2 feet) evergreen plant that is very drought-tolerant.

Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol) is evergreen and both heat and cold tolerant.   It is 1.5 to 2.5 feet tall for leaf structure and the flower stalk can be 9 to 15 feet tall.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) is evergreen and grows to 5 feet.




From the Image Gallery

Red yucca
Hesperaloe parviflora

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Chrysactinia mexicana

Texas sotol
Dasylirion texanum

Leucophyllum frutescens

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Dealing with beetles feeding on cholla cactus
June 20, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I bought a Cylindropuntia imbricata from the Wildflower center and it was growing like crazy. I recently noticed a lot of beetles feeding on it. Some are black and some are gra...
view the full question and answer

Both large and small Century plants putting up stems from Cayucos CA
November 18, 2013 - I have a Century Plant that is sending up a stem. I am excited to see it bloom. I noticed that one of the small pups, about 4 inches tall, is also sending up a stem. I have not found a mention of pups...
view the full question and answer

Damage to yucca in San Marcos TX
October 18, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, thank you for helping me with my buffalo grass is San Marcos TX back in the spring, my lawn is gorgeous thanks to you! I really need your help as someone sabotaged my beauti...
view the full question and answer

Root depth of opuntia
May 15, 2007 - What can you tell me about the depth of roots of the opuntia? Does it vary with different varieties or is there formula to estimate the depth according to the mature size or to the culture - garden ...
view the full question and answer

Ingestion of agave sap from Albuquerque NM
June 11, 2013 - My boyfriend was out in the Arizona desert without water for two days and sought moisture through what he thought was a yucca plant but instead we believe was agave. He sucked the moisture off the ins...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center