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

Tuesday - October 06, 2009

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Container Gardens, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants for hanging baskets in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you suggest some plants for winter hanging baskets in the Austin, TX area?

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown, in this case, Central Texas. The plants you ordinarily see in hanging baskets are often non-natives to this area. There are some natives that possibly would do well in hanging baskets (we assume this is for outside?) that are going to be dormant in the winter.  If you are looking for indoor hanging baskets, there are few plants that can endure artificial heat, low light and dryness of the indoor climate; the ones that can are generally non-native tropicals. We did find some plants that might work for you, either flowering all year or starting very early in the year, evergreen or semi-evergreen, even some ferns that are evergreen but don't, of course, flower.

We would add one caution: Since this is not something we have considered before for native plants, we do not know how hardy the roots of these plants would be in the winter. Roots of a plant in the ground are insulated by the warmth of the Earth, as well as mulch or decomposing organic matter. A plant in a planter is more vulnerable to freezing weather because it has so little insulation, just some potting soil and the container. To carry this one step further, a plant in a hanging basket is really exposed, not only to freezing weather and cold wind, but to drying out. 

Possibilities for Hanging Baskets in Central Texas:

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow) - evergreen or semi-evergreen, blooms white, pink, purple March to June, but has attractive trailing foliage

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida (Dakota mock vervain) - blooms pink, purple March to October, an annual that sometimes perennializes

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies) - semi-evergreen, blooms pink February to July

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa (stemmy four-nerve daisy) - evergreen, blooms January to December

Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair) - evergreen

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) - evergreen

Thelypteris kunthii (Kunth's maiden fern) - semi-evergreen

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callirhoe involucrata

Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida

Oenothera speciosa

Tetraneuris scaposa var. scaposa

Adiantum capillus-veneris

Polystichum acrostichoides

Thelypteris kunthii

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Perennial poppies for Salt Lake City
January 21, 2010 - What are the best poppies, perennial if possible, to plant in Salt Lake City, Utah?
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in shady area near a pecan tree in Maryland
March 26, 2013 - I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I have planted only natives in my front lawn. My backyard, which sports a pecan tree, fir, fig tree, and others I can't identify is dirt, just dirt. I have...
view the full question and answer

Do monarchs like Cynachum laeve in Austin, TX?
May 29, 2012 - I have found what I believe is Honeyvine (Cynanchum laeve) growing in my yard here in Austin. I tried using the LBJWC plant data base and could not find it. I also found the plant with a diff...
view the full question and answer

Local native plant for grave marker in Washington
December 30, 2005 - Dear wildflower expert, Our friendís dog died, and is buried in western Washington, near the town of Monroe. My wife is from central Texas, and thought a Texas perennial would be a nice marker. ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming of turkscap
November 16, 2009 - I have a Mexican Turk's cap, it is in its second year of growth and is doing well. However, I feel a need to prune it? do I need to?
view the full question and answer

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