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 - 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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Drooping leaves on iris in Phenix City, AL
May 02, 2009 - I had a bed FULL of iris rhizomes so I thinned them out and made two beds. They flowered perfectly but some of the flower stalks and some of the leaves began drooping over. The flowering is over. The ...
view the full question and answer

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
view the full question and answer

Odor and flavor of oils in Mints as insect repellants
December 19, 2005 - I am trying to find information on "How does mint plants repel insects" It's for my grand daughter's science project. Any help will be appreciated. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Is Scutellaria suffrutescens native to Texas from San Marcos TX
May 02, 2012 - Is Scutellaria suffrutescens (Pink skullcap) a Texas native? I have found many conflicting answers and even seen it called Texas skullcap on sites that say it's native to Mexico. We will consider you...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a creek bank in Northern Illinois
March 26, 2009 - Hello. I live in Northern Illinois. The creek (northern exposure in a wooded area) on the back of my property has bare muddy banks and is subject to seasonal floods. I want to plant something hardy t...
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