En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Wildflowers for Murphy NC Clay

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

Friday - August 24, 2012

From: Murphy, NC
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Groundcovers, Wildflowers
Title: Wildflowers for Murphy NC Clay
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live on a ridge in Murphy NC. The property has trees so most of the land is in partial shade. The soil is good 'ole mountain red clay. I have some steep bankings in front of the house that I would like to grow wildflowers. Any advice as to what would work in clay soil and where would I obtain the plants?

ANSWER:

   Sure, I found a couple answers that come pretty close to this that Mr Smarty Plants has already addressed.   This one is really close as it concerns a shaded bank near Charlotte

  I also like to scan native plants that might add for this specific situation in addition to those suggested previously.  Here is a link to the North Carolina Collection.  This can be searched for specific attributes such as partial shade and height.  After that, I read the records to see whether it was speccifically mentioned that they do well in clay.  You didn't mention whether the banks are relatively wet or dry soil.  I noticed only a few that mention dry clay as a good soil!

Here is a selection of wildflowers that specifically mention that they do well in clay and should help anchor the slope while also adding some seasonal color:

Dry:   Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis), Monarda citriodora (Lemon beebalm), Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

Moist:   Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed), Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower)Asclepias incarnata (Swamp milkweed)Helianthus angustifolius (Swamp sunflower)Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia)Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox)

   Where could you obtain the plants?  My first option would be to check out the suppliers in North Carolina that support the Wildflower Center.  Here is my search centered around Murphy NC.  I notice that several seed companies listed are 100% native!

 

From the Image Gallery


Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Lemon beebalm
Monarda citriodora

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Swamp sunflower
Helianthus angustifolius

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

More Groundcovers Questions

Benefits of Habiturf from Austin
August 19, 2013 - I have been reading about Habiturf and my question should be easy to answer. Is this is a grass you would recommend for kid play? Sitting on the lawn, kicking a soccer ball, etc. Any information a...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Southern California near the beach
February 27, 2011 - I'm in Southern California near the beach (3 miles away). I am looking for a front lawn ground cover that can stand many hours of daily direct sunlight, but will also get cool breezes off the ocean a...
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant ground cover for Massachusetts
July 11, 2012 - Mr Smarty Plants I am looking for drought resistant,low maintenance ground cover for a LEED certified project in Florence MA. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Massachusetts campus
April 01, 2012 - Our campus is converting to more sustainable landscaping practices, and in the process we are planting native plants and removing lawn. Thus we would like to replace the lawn, and some invasive groun...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-vascular moss as a lawn from Seattle WA
July 27, 2013 - I have lots of moss in my back yard. How can I encourage it to grow over the whole yard?
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