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

Monday - February 18, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs
Title: Non-blooming Dwarf Shrub and Agave Flowers
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have two questions. I need a symmetrical dwarf shrub for full sun in Austin area that is non-flowering. Can you recommend some? And do agaves always flower when they are about 10 years and then die?

ANSWER:

To find symmetrical dwarf shrub suggestions, the first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Texas, Habit/Shrub, Duration/Perennial, Size 0-1 ft or 1-3 ft. You can narrow down this search further by indicating your specific soil moisture and light requirements. All native plants will bloom to some extent. So here are some shrubs that will grow to around 3 feet that have less showy blooms;

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry) (it does have showy purple fruit though)

Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia)

Dalea bicolor var. argyrea (silver prairie clover)

Ephedra antisyphilitica (morman tea)  

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. johnswort)

Leucophyllum candidum (purple ceniza)  

Mahonia repens (creeping barberry)

Prunus minutiflora (dwarf plum)

Paxistima myrsinites (myrtle boxwood)

Quercus havardii (havard oak)  

Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list. Think about including plants that have interest during a variety of seasons and that have more than one attractive feature (fruit, foliage, bark, etc.) so you can get more benefits out of fewer plants.

About agaves and century plants, follow this link for a Mr. Smarty Plants answer to your question. They flower after 8-40 years (depending on the plant vigor) and then send out several baby offshoots that can be transplanted to other locations. The main mother plant does die after it flowers.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie acacia
Acacia angustissima

Silver prairie clover
Dalea bicolor var. argyrea

Mormon tea
Ephedra antisyphilitica

Shrubby st. johnswort
Hypericum prolificum

Brewster county barometerbush
Leucophyllum candidum

Creeping barberry
Mahonia repens

Texas almond
Prunus minutiflora

Oregon boxleaf
Paxistima myrsinites

Havard oak
Quercus havardii

American century plant
Agave americana

More Plant Lists Questions

Plants for streambank area in Oregon
September 14, 2012 - I am ready to replant a streambank area with native plants..what do you recommend for the Willamette Valley in Oregon? Thanks much!
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Orange County, California
August 05, 2012 - What ground cover do you suggest for an Orange Co., CA, backyard with a steep slope in 3-4 hours of sun? Needs to grow fast to beat the weeds. Something pretty would be nice! Thanks
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a Steep Slope in TN
July 15, 2014 - Hello, I live in Knoxville, TN and have a very steep slope in our backyard. There is a lot of water erosion causing our grass to be covered with red dirt. I would love to try to plant something on thi...
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

Groundcovers for Miami, FL
November 10, 2011 - I live in Miami, Florida. I have a medium size Bismarck Palm in my front yard. What would be a good ground cover other than grass around this palm?
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