En Español

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

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

Monday - August 27, 2012

From: Sacramento, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists
Title: Plants for flowerbed beside pool in Sacramento, CA
Answered by: Nan Hampton


70 foot long 2 ft flower bed running along north side of pool. Gets morning and afternoon sun with late shade on west end and hot sun on east end as sun sets. Need something to help with shooting seeds from FoxGlove plant behind fence and plants that will work along our narrow flowerbed.


Assuming that you mean Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove), a European native, I can't find any information that says that they "shoot" their seeds.  However, they do produce lots of seeds and they are considered invasive by the California Invasive Plant Council. You can read about methods for controlling foxglove on the California Invasive Plant Council website.

You can search for plants for your flower bed in our California-Northern Recommended list by using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to limit the choices under Light Requirement to "Sun - 6 or more hours."  All of the plants on the list are commerically available plants native to northern California and suitable for planned landscapes.  Here are a few from that list:

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick).  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow).  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Lupinus albifrons (Silver lupine).  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Muhlenbergia rigens (Deergrass).  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Epilobium canum ssp. canum (Hummingbird trumpet).  Here are more photos and information from Las Pilitas Nursery.

Aquilegia formosa (Western columbine).  Here are more photos from CalPhotos.

Camassia quamash (Small camas).  Here is more information from Washington Native Plant Society.

Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod).  Here is more information from the Robert W. Freckman Herbarium at the University of Wisconsin.


From the Image Gallery

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Silver lupine
Lupinus albifrons

Muhlenbergia rigens

Hummingbird trumpet
Epilobium canum ssp. canum

Western columbine
Aquilegia formosa

Small camas
Camassia quamash

Canada goldenrod
Solidago canadensis

More Plant Lists Questions

Specifications for a property in Corning CA
March 29, 2012 - Drought resistant, deer resistant, low growing (ground cover), and shade tolerant request: I am looking for a variety of species that not only fit the above preferences, but also a few other things. ...
view the full question and answer

More information on plants native to Taylor County TX
February 13, 2012 - Re: Thursday - September 15, 2011 QUESTION: Am looking for direction to a complete list of plants native to the Abilene, Taylor County, Texas area (trees, shrubs, grasses, cacti and other plants ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for privacy screen in San Antonio
April 30, 2012 - I am looking to plant native fast-growing evergreens that will provide privacy (growing taller than our fence). We live in San Antonio and the Red Tip Photinia seems to be everywhere! I heard that t...
view the full question and answer

Hillside Groundcovers for Pollinating Insects in Wisconsin
November 28, 2015 - I am looking for native plants for a project around Hudson, Wisconsin. We are to choose native plants to be seeded next spring 2016. They are to be planted on a hillside under and around solar panels ...
view the full question and answer

Vines for Madison, Wisconsin
March 12, 2015 - What are some good options for non-aggressive native vines for southern Wisconsin? I am looking for something that can cover a chain-link fence and benefit local insects. I don't want it to take ov...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center