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?

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
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 Wildflowers Questions

Native Edible Plants of Pennsylvania Books
April 25, 2013 - What is the best book that you know of for finding wild plant edibles in Pennsylvania?
view the full question and answer

Small, flowering, evergreen plants for hillside in Austin.
October 27, 2007 - I have a steep, dry hillside measuring approximately 4 feet high by six feet wide. I want to plant low growing, evergreen, flowering plants across the bed that will flower as long as possible, and thr...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers that will grow in sandy soil in New York
June 09, 2005 - Dear Mr. S. Pants, We live near Albany, NY in what was once a pine forest. The soil is very, very sandy. I've had some success with wildflowers but I have to use some topsoil and humus mixture to ...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers versus non-natives
June 30, 2014 - Native flowers versus non-natives. What guidelines do use for identification. I come across flowers in different habitats and can't identify them as natives. Also, how do you attach a image to a ...
view the full question and answer

Best date for spring bluebonnet blooms for 2015
January 31, 2015 - What is the estimated date range for the best bluebonnet viewing in the Hill Country this year (2015). I have guests from the north planning a visit and we'd like to pick a weekend with great possibi...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center