Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Monday - June 25, 2007

From: Suwanee, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Plants for dry conditions and clay soils in Georgia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need a bush or plant that I can plant next to a creek that requires no maintenance to cover exposed roots and underbrush caused by rushing water whenever the creeks rises with large downpours. We built up the bottom half of the creek bed with river rock to about 4 feet high, but there is about an additional 3 feet of exposed dirt and roots where we would like to plant something. We tried planting wisteria to hang down over the edge, but it died because there is not irrigation on the other side of the creek and we live in Georgia and the soil can tend to be dry and hard in the summer. (Red clay!) My landscaper suggested bamboo, but we just set up a 'cape cod' look overlooking the creek, with a weeping willow tree and a couple of Adirondack chairs. We also cover a disgusting culvert with flagstone and it now looks beautiful, so if we can somehow find something to plant over our river rock, we should have a nice focal point for our rest area. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Here are several suggestions. All these will grow in clay soils, tolerate dry conditions and are native to Gwinnett County, Georgia. You will need to water them frequently for a period of time (probably for 2 or 3 months) after you have planted them, however, until the roots are well-established.

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

Rhus copallinum (winged sumac)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush). This one will work if the area you are describing is frequently moist or standing in water.


Rhus glabra

Amorpha fruticosa

Rhus copallinum

Cephalanthus occidentalis

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Further information on Melochia tomentosa in San Antonio
May 29, 2009 - Information in your database is limited for Melochia tomentosa. I would appreciate any further information you can provide such as requirements for sunlight, soils, water,etc.
view the full question and answer

Native plants suitable for rock garden in New York
March 26, 2006 - I'd like to start a rock garden. The area is very rocky, the soil is shallow and it's partially shaded. I'd like mostly perennials that flower from spring to fall. I hope to make some purchases fr...
view the full question and answer

Small Tree or Shrub for Northern Virginia
March 04, 2011 - I live in Northern Virginia in the metro D.C. area and we just had a large pine tree topple over in the front of our house. We would like to replace it with a native evergreen that wouldn't grow up a...
view the full question and answer

Problem with magnolias and yaupon in Prosper TX
May 13, 2012 - Problem with Little Gem magnolia - 3 little gems planted next to a fence, in Prosper, TX. Planted 3 years ago, 2009, one of the trees is now withering. The other 2 are doing fine, the one has leaves...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Ageratina havenensis from Magnolia TX
June 18, 2013 - I planted a Eupatorium havanense last year here in the last sandy finger of the piney woods; it gets full sun in a well-drained raised bed, where it flowered well. I pruned it fairly close, and it cam...
view the full question and answer

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