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

Thursday - April 03, 2014

From: henderson, NV
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Wildflowers
Title: Less Maintenance Plant Suggestions for New Raised Bed in Henderson, NV.
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We have a newly constructed raised garden bed. I was wondering what kind of plants would be appropriate to plant this springtime in Henderson, NV with less maintenance because I work full time.

ANSWER:

It’s great that you are thinking about native plants for your new raised garden bed. This will be a great opportunity to design your new bed with several layers of wildflowers, perennials, and perhaps even shrubs that will give you enjoyment year round. Think about having plants that offer attractive features during many seasons (fruit, blooms, bark, twig structure, evergreen leaves or needles, scent, etc.) Packing all these features into a smaller bed gets a little more challenging, but is not impossible. Regarding your request for less maintenance, many native plants are less maintenance since they are well adapted to their region and usually don’t have to be staked, sprayed, pruned, have soil treatments to modify the soil and other high maintenance treatments.

You didn’t say what size your new bed is or whether it has sun or shade exposure and the type of soil that you used. So I can’t suggest specific plants, but I can tell you the first place to go to find a list of potential plants for your state is our Native Plants 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 category: State – Nevada. Then for your site, select the habit, duration, leaf retention, light requirement, soil moisture and size that you would like. These search criteria will give you lots of plants to consider. 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.

To determine if plants will be lower maintenance, look for references about any major pest and diseases, reseeding, suckering, and other maintenance clues and avoid these plants. Once you have your prospective list of native plants, you might want to cross reference it with the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition Regional Plant List. They have put together a list of plants that are adapted to the desert environment and include “bulletproof” plants tolerant of heat, cold and wind; are water efficient; low maintenance; non-invasive; and pest and disease resistant. Several City of Henderson employees were instrumental in putting together the plant list. The Acacia Demonstration Gardens in Henderson is a good place to visit for ideas too. 

 

More Plant Lists Questions

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

Strong groundcover for Southern California
March 28, 2012 - Need a strong ground cover. Hard time getting anything to grow. Full sun. Prefer some color. Low upkeep. The soil probably isn't great. It is a small hill within a planter.
view the full question and answer

Full list of grasses for Connecticut from New York City
January 28, 2012 - Sorry, this is a followup to the native Connecticut grass query I sent half an hour ago. I see that it was asking for 'recommended species' that I ended up with such a short list of grasses (3). Th...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for 2,000 feet Elevation in AZ
January 23, 2016 - What shrubs can I plant in New River, AZ, 2,000 feet above sea level?
view the full question and answer

Plant List for Charleston South Carolina
April 08, 2013 - I would like a list a plants that would do well in Charleston SC.
view the full question and answer

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