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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - July 23, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Texas natives to plant in July and August
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My husband and I have a disaster of a lawn that we were planning to develop slowly, over time, with a sustainable design we contracted from a landscape designer. However, we are having to move out of the house urgently and rent it out, with little time to prepare the front yard to add curb appeal. We'd like to find some plants we can design with gravel, which we can actually plant in July or August. (I'm not convinced that even natives could survive a planting this time of year.) Any suggestions??

ANSWER:

Well, you're right—this is not the ideal time to be planting something in Austin, given the heat and lack of rain. You, your property management agent or your tenant will need to water the newly planted plants for awhile to help them get established. Even the toughest plants cannot stand transplaning in mid-summer without some extra care. However, going with a sort of desert theme, here are a few options that should work and look good with your gravel.

Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca)

Manfreda maculosa (spice lily)

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita)

Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol)

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Yucca rupicola (Texas yucca)

Yucca thompsoniana (Thompson's yucca)

 

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