En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - February 14, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Native plants for limestone ledge with thin soil in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My back yard is essentially a limestone ledge with less than an inch of soil on the top in full sun. What native plants can live in this environment? Since I can't really dig a hole, maybe I should start with wildflower seeds.

ANSWER:

Here are some candidate native plants that should do well in thin, calcareous soils:

Grasses/Grasslike
Lindheimer muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri)
Texas Sedge (Carex texensis)
Purple three-awn (Aristida purpurea)

Herbaceous Perennials
Blackfoot Daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)
Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)
Mealy blue sage (Salvia farinacea)
Four-nerve daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa)
Hill Country Penstemon (Penstemon triflorus)

Herbaceous Annuals
Greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium)
Scarlet Sage (Salvia coccinea)
Yellow Stonecrop (Sedum nuttallianum)

Perennial Shrubs/Shrublike
Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana)
Rose mallow (Pavonia lasiopetala)
Texas Lantana (Lantana urticoides)
Agarita (Mahonia trifoliata)

Although your soil is thin, you might find some places deep enough to plant some of the shrubs. They are all especially well-suited to your conditions. Regarding the herbaceous annuals, they should readily reseed themselves if the mature seed heads are left on the plants to disperse.

Many of these plants can be bought as seeds from Native American Seed in Junction, Texas. You can also check our National Suppliers Directory for other nurseries and seed companies that specialize in native plants in your area. Additionally, the majority of these plants will be for sale at our Spring Plant Sale for 2007 beginning Friday, April 13 (1 to 7PM) with a preview sale for Wildflower Center members only. The sale for the general public will be held Saturday and Sunday (9AM-5PM), April 14 and 15. Please check the Wildflower Center web page closer to the weekend of the sale for a list of the plants available and for more information about the sale.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Smarty Plants on Virginia crownbeard
January 29, 2005 - I recently moved to the Hill Country and notice some "weeds" that seemed to into explode into ice formations when the temperature first fell below freezing. Can you tell me the name of this plant an...
view the full question and answer

Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
January 31, 2012 - What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seeds planted in May for summer in Fairfield, TX
May 12, 2005 - Are there any wildflower seeds which can be planted in May for the summer? I have planted a wildgrass seed mixture I purchased from Turner Seed Company and planted it today (5-2-05). It was supposed...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
July 30, 2012 - Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet peak for 2010
January 14, 2010 - What does 2010 look for bluebonnets in Texas. When will they peak?
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center