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

Tuesday - March 05, 2013

From: Belleair, FL
Region: Select Region
Topic: Plant Lists, Container Gardens, Shrubs
Title: Hot Sunny Planter Suggestions for Florida
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We have a large, raised, concrete planter (about 15' L x 2' W) separating us from our condo neighbor in Clearwater, FL. We would like suggestions for shrubs that tolerate full sun and hot conditions!

ANSWER:

Think of the space as two layers – the taller shrub layer and a groundcover or trailing plant layer that will cascade over the edge of the planter.  Your planter can include excellent native plants for both these layers. You can also have several different plants in the planter that have attractive flowering, foliage, or fruiting features during different times of the year.

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: Florida, Habit (shrub), and Duration – Perennial. You can narrow down this search further by indicating light requirement (sun), blooming time, soil moisture (dry) and height specifics (0-1 ft or 1-3 ft).

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 (flower, fruit, foliage, bark, etc.) so you can get more benefits out of fewer plants.

The full sun and dry list of native shrubs that are 1-3 ft tall include Zamia pumila (Florida arrowroot), Verbena halei (slender verbena), Rosa carolina (Carolina rose), Lantana involucrata (button sage), Clinopodium coccineum (red savory), and Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia).

The same search (full sun, 1-3 ft tall shrubs) but with moist soil conditions resulted in three suggestions: Batis maritima (seaside saltwort), Desmanthus illinoensis (bundleflower), and Rosa carolinia (Carolina rose).

Best wishes with your planter planning.  

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie acacia
Acacia angustissima

Illinois bundleflower
Desmanthus illinoensis

Illinois bundleflower
Desmanthus illinoensis

Carolina rose
Rosa carolina

Texas vervain
Verbena halei

Texas vervain
Verbena halei

Scarlet calamint
Clinopodium coccineum

More Container Gardens Questions

Can non-native Mayten tree be grown in 4 ft. container in Cypress CA
January 30, 2010 - We have a mayten tree that is about ten years old, in a planter about 4 ft. wide. We were told that the roots will not be a problem--true or false? So far, no problem, but how about going forward?
view the full question and answer

Green blooms on Cedar Sage in Lucas TX
September 22, 2010 - I have two Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana) one purchased from your plant sale and one from a local nursery planted in part shade in the Dallas area. They seem to be quite happy and are blooming but ...
view the full question and answer

Care for indoor Lemon Cypress
November 30, 2008 - How do I care for an indoor Lemon Cypress tree?
view the full question and answer

Hearty, bushy native plants for windowboxes in Abilene, TX
October 08, 2005 - I live in Abilene, Tx and am a horrible gardener. I would love to have window boxes with some sort of hearty bushy plant. Any suggestions, I'm at a total loss...? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for wood planter box in Houston
August 04, 2011 - Hi, I'm making a long wood planter box/bench for my wood deck. The area gets direct sun only in the late afternoon/evening and the deck serves as a play space for our one-year old son. I'd like to...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center