Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Possible tax exemptions for wildlife management
August 07, 2006 - I am interested in finding out whether there are state grants to help land owners grow wildflowers on otherwise unused portions of their properties. Would you happen to know whom I should contact or w...
view the full question and answer

Will my wildflower seeds reseed by themselves?
February 11, 2010 - I have planted wildflowers from seed throughout the several acres of my property in the Hill Country near New Braunfels. Once estalished will they reseed without any help from me? The flowers includ...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets and paintbrush for Fredericksburg VA
April 10, 2011 - Can I broadcast Texas bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush seeds, in Virginia, during early Spring and get germination; or, do I need to winterize and plant next spring.
view the full question and answer

Will Bermuda grass crowd out natives
September 12, 2008 - i have a new office bldg on an acre lot in cedar park. the city requires complete ground cover within a few months so bermuda was sprayed much to my dismay..the area along the front towards the road ...
view the full question and answer

Goldenrod recommendations for Buda, TX
January 22, 2011 - I am looking for a Solidago species Goldenrod that is non-invasive and suited to the area around Austin/ Buda, TX. I prefer to use a native, non-hybrid, especially since I am adjacent to a wild area. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.