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
2 ratings

Saturday - April 19, 2008

From: Billerica, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Cutting costs on purchase of plants in Boston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I spend OVER $600 per season on annuals for my gardens here in the Boston area each year. I wonder if there is any place you are aware that I can buy discounted plants? I grow the typical geraniums, mums, impatients, etc. If I save some money...I can plant more. I love flowers! Thanks. Denise

ANSWER:

Sorry, recommending discounted plants is a little out of our line. What we can do is make a couple of suggestions, answering questions you didn't ask, about how to have attractive landscaping for more months of the year, and without replanting everything, with the attendant expense, pots, fertilizer, etc. for annuals. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care and propagation of plants native to North America, none of which are on your list of annuals. We do this because a native, growing where it is supposed to, will be less susceptible to disease, require less fertilizer and water, and be more resistant to insect pests. Further, we would like to suggest planting more perennials each year. We can also recommend some native plant suppliers in the Boston area. The upfront cost may be more, but if you do it gradually, converting from non-native annuals to native perennials, in a few years you will have a lower maintenance, lower cost garden that is good for the environment.

Just as a sample, the first thing we're going to do is go to our Recommended Species and select for Massachusetts, herbs (flowering plants), and perennials. When we did that, we got 41 possibilities, from which we have selected an even dozen that will give you flowers in several different colors from early Spring to mid-Fall. You can then repeat our process, either choosing other flowering plants (herbs) you like better, or selecting for shrubs, trees or grasses, and adding the soil moisture conditions and amount of sun. And, as promised, here is a list of native plant suppliers in the Boston area.

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) - blooms July to September, white, pink

Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone) - blooms April to June, white

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine) - blooms February to July, red, pink, yellow

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed) - blooms May to September, orange, yellow

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower) -blooms June to September, blue, purple

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) -blooms April to June, yellow

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - blooms May to October, red

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia) - blooms July-October, blue

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine) - blooms May and June, blue, purple

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm) - blooms July, August, red

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) - blooms May to September, lavender, white

Rudbeckia laciniata (cutleaf coneflower) - blooms July to October, yellow


Achillea millefolium

Anemone canadensis

Aquilegia canadensis

Asclepias tuberosa

Campanula rotundifolia

Coreopsis lanceolata

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia siphilitica

Lupinus perennis

Monarda didyma

Monarda fistulosa

Rudbeckia laciniata

 

 

 

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Want to take cuttings from Yaupon in Tomball, TX.
August 06, 2010 - From Tomball, Texas - we have a very shaded back yard and would like some lower growing shrubbery as a screen for the neighbors. Wild yaupon holly is growing well on the fringes and I would like to f...
view the full question and answer

Finding Viguiera dentata seeds or plants.
November 09, 2009 - I'm trying to locate seeds or plants of Viguiera Dentata, but have been unsuccessful. With the poliferation of these beautiful flowers this fall, I don't understand why I can't locate them. Do you ...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a source of bracken fern seed.
July 27, 2009 - I`m looking to buy "bracken fern"seed. Or can it be transplanted from the wild?
view the full question and answer

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower seed mix
August 06, 2007 - Where can I buy "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower seed mix? Does such a thing exist? It seems like years ago my neighbor had some packets that she planted in her front yard, they were gorgeous! I woul...
view the full question and answer

Difficulty identifying/finding a plant
August 21, 2010 - I have been advised that the Calandria (sic) is a good plant to cover a cement wall surrounding our home in La Quinta, CA. I cannot find such a plant on line. Can you assist? I want to entirely cov...
view the full question and answer

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