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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.

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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.

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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!

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Thursday - May 01, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Roses for Austin soil
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What roses would work in the soil near Lake Austin Spa?

ANSWER:

Since we don't know where Lake Austin Spa is, we will just assume it is Austin soil, which is generally alkaline, laced with limestone and lots of clay. The other problem is that most roses are native to China. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which those plants are being grown; in your case, Travis County, Texas. One good reason for this rule is that if you find a plant native to a certain spot, you already know that plant will do well in the climate, rainfall and soils of that area, because they already are.There are a very few members of the genus rosa native to North America, so we will search on that genus in our Native Plant Database to see if any of them are native to Texas, and then check the USDA Plant Profile Map for the natives to Texas to see if they grow in Travis County. If so, we will give you a plant link to our webpage on that rose where you can learn the growing conditions, sunlight requirements, etc, for that particular plant.

We found 9 members of the rosa genus native to Texas; not a single one came even close to Travis County, and two apparently had been repeorted as native to Texas but the specific area was not reported.

Rosa arkansana (Prairie rose) - no county reported

Rosa arkansana var. suffulta (Prairie rose) - no county reported

Rosa carolina (Carolina rose) - a very few counties in northeast Texas

Rosa carolina var. carolina (Carolina rose) - a very few counties in northeast Texas

Rosa foliolosa (White prairie rose)- a very few counties in northeast Texas

Rosa setigera (Climbing prairie rose) - a very few counties in northeast Texas

Rosa setigera var. tomentosa (Climbing rose) - a very few counties in northeast Texas

Rosa stellata (Desert rose) - a very few counties in West Texas

Rosa woodsii (Woods' rose) - a very few counties in West Texas

We would imagine you are more interested in the non-native floribunda roses, which are generally more showy, but which fall out of our range of expertise. We would suggest you contact the Austin Rose Society.

 

From the Image Gallery


Prairie rose
Rosa arkansana

Prairie rose
Rosa arkansana var. suffulta

Carolina rose
Rosa carolina

White prairie rose
Rosa foliolosa

Climbing prairie rose
Rosa setigera

Desert rose
Rosa stellata

Woods' rose
Rosa woodsii

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