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

Saturday - December 22, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Texas native shade plants for metal troughs in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Interested in finding Texas natives that would do well in metal troughs in the shade.

ANSWER:

Okay, here's the thing - We can give you a link to our How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants, we can give you instructions to do a search on our Native Plant Database for shade plants native to Central Texas, we can even help you with the kind of soil you need for the plants you select, but we can't give you very precise information on the use of metal troughs. We don't know if we are looking at shallow troughs that will only hold small annual and perennial blooming plants, or deep watering tanks that could possibly accommodate a tree. So, we went Internet diving and found these websites that will hopefully fill in the gap in our expertise:

Apartment Therapy How to Build a Raised Bed in a Metal Trough

Planet Natural Raised Bed Gardening

Two Men and a Little Farm Galvanized Water Tank/Trough Vegetable Gardens - please note the instructions on preparing drainage in those tanks

Now, since we don't know what scale of gardening you want to get into with the metal troughs, we are going to teach you to use our Native Plant Database to find herbaceous blooming plants (herbs), annuals and perennials that will tolerate shade. In the Database, using the Combination Search, select "Texas" for the state, "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant) under Habiit, and choose the amount of sunlight under "Light Requirements." Those are the most essential characteristis but, if you wish, you can go on to select for "evergreen" or "deciduous," projected mature height, even bloom time or color. However, the more charcteristics you choose, the fewer choices you will have. To help you learn how to use the Native Plant Database, we are going to make a list of some plants native not only to Texas but to the Travis County area, selecting on "herb" and "shade." You can rerun the same search changing all the characteristics for your own purposes. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn its growing conditions, soil needs, etc.

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin)

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Hydrocotyle umbellata (Manyflower marshpennywort)

Osmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon fern)

You can then search on "tree," "shrub," or whatever other habits you are interested in growing.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Straggler daisy
Calyptocarpus vialis

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Manyflower marshpennywort
Hydrocotyle umbellata

Cinnamon fern
Osmunda cinnamomea

More Container Gardens Questions

White specks on unknown houseplant from Ridgeway SC
June 20, 2013 - I have an unknown houseplant that seems to have some sort of pest or disease on it. It has white snowy specks atop its leaf. I bought this purple fuzzy leafed houseplant from Walmart in Winnsboro, SC ...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for Bucks County, PA
February 18, 2009 - I live in Bucks County, PA and I would like to have a garden, but do not have a green thumb. Which plants come back each year that survive in large pots. Are daisies also a good choice for my garden...
view the full question and answer

Wintering Purple Coneflowers in pots in Springfield MO
August 26, 2013 - I have some 8 month old purple cone flowers in containers on my porch. They did not bloom this summer because they were seedlings when given to me. I can not put them in the ground. How can I keep the...
view the full question and answer

Potting soil used in Wildflower Center nursery
October 23, 2008 - I recently purchased several beautiful little plants at your Fall plant sale and notice how very happy and healthy they all are! Please tell me if you mix your own potting soil and what your potting ...
view the full question and answer

Return of empty Plant Sale pots from Austin
April 20, 2010 - Would the WFC want the empty plant containers back? I live near the center and could drop off quite a few containers, along with plastic tags. Let me know where, if so.
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