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 - January 05, 2013

From: El Paso, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens
Title: Indoor plants for El Paso TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to know what kind of plants will survive indoors in El Paso. It is so dry here, is there anything leafy or flowery that will thrive indoors in this climate?

ANSWER:

We agree with you about the dry air in El Paso, indoors and out. The big problem is that most indoor plants are non-native to North America. An indoor climate can be more difficult, believe it or not, than outdoor extreme temperatures and rainfall. Here is an article from Aggie Horticulture on Houseplants, which will give you a general feel for the process of growing them indoors.

Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plant native not only to North America but to the area in which they grow natively (in this case, El Paso County) there is good new and bad news. First, the bad news, almost none of the plants that will grow indoors are native to your area or, indeed, anywere in North America. Most of them are subtropicals. The good news is that it is far easier to find non-natives in commercial nurseries and home improvement stores. From a Guide to Houseplants, here is a House Plant Encyclopedia. When you begin to shop, plan to make 2 trips to the nursery. Trip one: go into the nursery and take notes on the name of any plant you like that is on the tag. Search the House Plant Encyclopedia (above) for that name, and then follow the link to information on that plant. Trip Two: go back and make selections based on your research.

One more thing  before you make your purchase. Again from Guide to Housplants, here is an article How to Identify House Plant Pests and Diseases and Get Solutions that Work. Note their caution that most pests and diseases come home from the nursery, so you must inspect everything you buy closely.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Transplant time for small smoke tree from Battle Ground WA
June 01, 2014 - When do I transplant a smoke tree that is still young, about a foot high? It is too close to a fence, which I fear will be a problem as it gets big. I live in Battle Ground, WA which is zone 6.
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bamboo
July 29, 2008 - To transplant bamboo from one place to another, do you dig the plant up or do you get a cutting, put it in water and then root the plant?
view the full question and answer

Native Species List for Ponca OK
June 24, 2011 - I planted daylilies in my Austin garden and did not do well. I moved these daylilies to my garden in Ponca City Oklahoma and have done outstanding relying only on mother nature's rain. My garden in ...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to non-native heather (Calluna vulgaris)
April 27, 2007 - I live in Vernon, BC, Canada. I plan to put a heather plant in my garden, but my space is limited. I know that it will grow approx. 2 ft. high and that it likes well drained and acidic soil, but how...
view the full question and answer

Has Texas Black Persimmon been crossed with non-native persimmons from Austin
August 17, 2013 - Hi. I just found a Texas Black Persimmon in my neighborhood. The fruit is olive green and then black, then it explodes into a black slurry of seeds and syrup. The color is so strong I find myself wond...
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