Rent Shop 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

Tuesday - September 13, 2005

From: Bryan, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Shrubs
Title: Apartment Landscaping
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in an apartment and have a small patch filled with rocks and an ugly plant I don't know the name of. I want to take out the existing plants and put something else in. It has to be hearty,low maintenance and able to survive in hot sun and sometimes rainy conditions. We are in Bryan,Texas. I would prefer to bring some color to this patch but just want the space to look pretty. What do you recommend?

ANSWER:

You can greatly improve your chances for success by adding four to six inches of good, sandy loam garden soil to your bed before you plant. Work the existing soil with a spade, digging fork or rototiller before adding the new soil. By mounding the soil, you provide conditions more favorable for root growth in the difficult spot you've described.

The single best plant that I can think of that fits your criteria is Texas Lantana. It is consistently colorful, tough as nails, pest, disease and deer resistant, treated like candy by butterflies and hummingbirds and is great for low-to-no maintenance areas. There are other choices, but for your needs, nothing could be better. Removing the developing seeds as they appear on the plant will encourage more flowering.

 

More Shrubs Questions

Specimen evergreen for sun in Central Texas
August 28, 2010 - I'm soliciting suggestions for a specimen plant for a new garden we're building. It will be planted in a 3' square raised (18") Limestone bed. It will be full sun, Western exposure, and relative...
view the full question and answer

Two Holly Cultivars for a Texas Front Landscape?
February 22, 2016 - We are starting a new with our landscape. All existing 30-year-old plants are going to be removed. We would like a focal point at the front door area and are considering 'Savannah' or 'Nellie R. St...
view the full question and answer

Fruiting times of native trees and shrubs in the Pacific Norhwest
December 30, 2013 - I am looking for information on fruiting/seeds/nuts times of native trees and shrubs in the Pacific Northwest. Obviously they fruit after they bloom but all I can find is very general information such...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub for Austin TX shade
October 24, 2015 - I live in Austin, TX. I'm looking for a 4 season shrub for a partially shaded area that gets about 3 hours of sun towards the evening. It's mostly partially shaded.
view the full question and answer

Recovery of an agarita having been cut down from San Antonio, TX
August 16, 2013 - I had an agarita adjoining a cedar and a volunteer hackberry in my yard. The tree trimmers were supposed to cut out the hackberry but unfortunately also cut the agarita back to the ground. How long ...
view the full question and answer

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