Contact Us Host an Event 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

Saturday - November 28, 2015

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Plant Lists, Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Shade, Heat, Drought and Acidic Soil Tolerant Perennials for Las Vegas?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

What can I grow under my pine trees that is shade and heat (and acidity) tolerant? I live in Las Vegas, NV and would like perennials to plant under my pine trees.

ANSWER:

Shade-, heat-, drought- and acidic soil-tolerant, native perennials for under your pine trees in Las Vegas is a challenging set of criteria but not an impossible challenge!

Looking at the Native Plant Database search criteria on the Lady Bird Wildflower Center website is our first stop. Searching for Nevada, Herb, Perennial, Shade, and Dry will fit most of the criteria and reveals 13 possibilities.

Then, we have to filter these results by those that can tolerate acidic soil and which are not invasive.

One possibility is Geum triflorum (old man's whiskers), although it does prefer alkaline soil so if you do plant this perennial remove the top layer of pine needles from the soil.

This is an attractive, 6-18 in. plant with foot-wide, basal clumps of ferny, blue-green, hairy leaves and reddish-purple, bell-shaped flowers that hang in groups of three. Clumps of feathery, plumed, pink-gray fruits stay on the plant much of the summer. The leaves of prairie smoke turn deep red in fall and are sometimes evergreen.

After fertilization, the bell-like flowers turn upward and plumes begin to grow from the pistils, ready to be caught by the wind or a passing animal and the seed so dispersed.

Prefers thin soil over limestone. Mature plants frequently form dense mats creating an attractive ground cover. In addition to the soil preference listed, prairie smoke is known to occur on rich prairie loams, clay and sand.

The Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition has put out a very extensive Regional Plant List with details about plants that they recommend. There is a section on perennials (Mojave native and non-natives combined) on page 9.

 

From the Image Gallery


Old man's whiskers
Geum triflorum

Old man's whiskers
Geum triflorum

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Drought tolerant plants for IN
August 23, 2011 - What are some plants that would do well in an east facing area near my front door? I live in Indianapolis IN. I need something that is drought resistant and will fill in a 4x3 foot walled off area th...
view the full question and answer

Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
January 19, 2012 - My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for a Sunny, Steep Slope in Maryland
April 29, 2013 - I need a groundcover for a sunny dry steep slope in Towson, Maryland. The slope goes from the parking lot down to a deck area.
view the full question and answer

Small native plants to line driveway in Los Fresnos, Texas
March 15, 2010 - I have a 70' driveway. What are recommended drought resistant dwarf (no more than 3 feet) plants to line the driveway?
view the full question and answer

Pollinators for Palm Springs, CA
June 18, 2015 - Just moved to Palm Springs, California. Hot and dry, desert region. What bee and pollinator-friendly plants would do well with full afternoon sun?
view the full question and answer

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