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
17 ratings

Thursday - February 28, 2008

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Grasses and wildflowers for Houston meadow
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I recently bought a house in a new subdivision just south of Houston - as with most new developments, the area is devoid of nature for the most part... I have planted many bird/butterfly/bee friendly plants in the backyard and instead of having a traditional lawn, I would like to create a meadow. I have been looking at the Wildflower Center's selection of native seeds, but I'm not sure where to start. Can you help me choose some native grasses and wildflowers that might do well in the wet clay soil? I am a big fan of insects and birds and want to make my yard into a refuge for them. Thank you for your help!

ANSWER:

First of all, let me recommend our article, Wildflower Meadow Gardening, in our "How to Articles". It gives you information about setting up and managing a wildflower meadow.

Here are a few recommendations for grasses and wildflowers that should do well in the Houston area:

GRASSES

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

WILDFLOWERS

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Calylophus berlandieri (Berlandier's sundrops)

Castilleja indivisa (entireleaf Indian paintbrush)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Eustoma exaltatum (catchfly prairie gentian)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Liatris punctata (dotted blazing star)

Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm)

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox)

Ruellia nudiflora (violet wild petunia)

Salvia azurea (azure blue sage)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

You can also go to our list of recommended species for East Texas to find more choices.

Check with Native American Seed in Junction. They have many wildflower mixes and their Native Trail Mix has a combination of wildflowers and native grasses that should do well in the Houston area. They also have tips about planting wildflower and grass seeds.


Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Bouteloua curtipendula

Elymus canadensis

Eragrostis intermedia

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Schizachyrium scoparium

Achillea millefolium

Asclepias tuberosa

Callirhoe involucrata

Calylophus berlandieri

Castilleja indivisa

Coreopsis lanceolata

Eustoma exaltatum

Gaillardia pulchella

Liatris punctata

Monarda citriodora

Phlox drummondii

Ruellia nudiflora

Salvia azurea

Salvia coccinea

Oenothera speciosa

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii
 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Planting for parrots
March 23, 2005 - I have 2 parrots, a sun conure and a nanday conure, and I would like to find some plants to put in their aviary room that are safe for parrots. Can you help me with this question?
view the full question and answer

Wildlife garden for PA
October 12, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty plants, I am a student at Allegheny College, Meadville, PA. I am working on my senior thesis, and I hope to submit a successful proposal to plant a native species and wildlife garden ...
view the full question and answer

Bird-friendly plants for South Texas
April 05, 2011 - Which are the best plants that provide food (perennials, shrubs, trees, and vines) to attract birds to my backyard garden? (I have water and cover and would like to make sure I have the 10 best plants...
view the full question and answer

Evergreens for a deer corridor in MI
April 16, 2012 - I am growing three rows of evergreens for a wildlife, deer travel corridor, and am looking for which trees grow well together and are shade tolerant of each other when planted at the same time, or at ...
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping and wildlife gardening in Clifton, TX
November 29, 2004 - I am moving to Clifton, TX, and I will have an empty lot in the town along with my own home/lot. What kind of soil can I expect? I want to grow a wildflower site to just sit and enjoy and feed the a...
view the full question and answer

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