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?

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

Friday - October 26, 2012

From: Piedmont, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Winter plants for windowbox in Piedmont SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What kind of outdoor window box spruss can grow in upstate South Carolina in the winter months?

ANSWER:

We are assuming you meant spruce; in a later note you asked for cypress or anything evergreen for a window box. First, we must tell you that both the genus Picea (spruce) and Cupressaceae (cypress) are largely northern trees, and none but Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress) grow natively in South Carolina. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which they are being grown.

The next problem is that all species of both of the above genera get HUGE. Even as a seedling, they wouldn't fit into a window box, and would quickly grow roots that would take the window box apart. So, let us teach you how to use our Native Plant Database

In an effort to give you the way to answer your own question, we went to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search, searched on South Carolina, herbs (herbaceous blooming plants), evergreen and a height of 0 to 1 foot, appropriate to a window box. This gave us 7 possibilities, all of which should do well in  Anderson and Greenville counties in the northwest corner of South Carolina. You can follow each link to our webpage on that plant to learn size, care, color, etc. We might have been able to give you a more accurate list had we known if the window box had sun or shade, often a big consideration in the selection of plants. You can, however, follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant, and learn its water and light requirements. Not a lot of plants will bloom in winter, but if they are evergreen, they should still stay attractive in your window box.

Viola walteri (Walter's violet)

Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Hexastylis arifolia (Littlebrownjug)

Hexastylis shuttleworthii (Largeflower heartleaf)

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry)

Lycopodium digitatum (Fan clubmoss)

We suggest you read our How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants.  A window box would, we think, count as a type of container garden.

 

From the Image Gallery


Walter's violet
Viola walteri

Wild blue phlox
Phlox divaricata

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Little brown jug
Hexastylis arifolia

Largeflower heartleaf
Hexastylis shuttleworthii

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

More Container Gardens Questions

Plants for low light in Houston
April 21, 2009 - I moved from a home in New Jersey to an apartment in Houston, TX -inside court - low light. I can't keep houseplants alive., What do you recommend that I try here? Both inside the apartment and on ...
view the full question and answer

Ants in outdoor plants in Austin
July 30, 2011 - Live in Austin. The problem is THIS. Ants have invaded our outside potted plants- mandevilla, begonia , lemon tree and violas. The colonies are devouring the roots it appears. Please give suggestions ...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for pool area in Killeen TX
March 08, 2009 - We live in Central Texas (Killeen). We want to put some container plants around our pool. (backyard with pool is all cement). We want some larger stuff, like maybe bamboo, elephant ears, etc. What pla...
view the full question and answer

Disappearing oranges from Satsuma orange in Austin
June 25, 2008 - I had many tiny future oranges on my Satsuma Orange Tree until a few days ago. Suddenly, all were gone except one. They weren't on the ground and the tree itself seems incredibly healthy. It is gr...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for part shade in Bee Cave TX
June 18, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I am looking for plants that will thrive on my covered porch in 3 tall planters. These are meant to help me block an unattractive view out my living room window, so they must...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center