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

Wednesday - April 14, 2010

From: Huntsville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Transplants
Title: What soil to plant native plants in Huntsville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently purchased several plants at the Spring Plant Sale and would like to know when planting them, what type of soil should I use. I typically use partial native soil and partial mushroom compost but have never planted native plants before. Please advise.

ANSWER:

First, we recommend that you read A Guide to Native Plant Gardening in our How-To Articles. Ordinarily, we recommend native soil for native plants; the point being that the native plants have grown in that soil and that environment for millions of years. We also often recommend mixing compost into new beds being planted, especially where there is clay soil. The compost improves drainage and help the tiny little rootlets access the nutrients in the soil.

We have no experience with mushroom compost, so we did some research, finding mostly opinions, and not sure which are solid facts. The first article we read was from Doug Green's simplegiftsfarm Mushroom Compost. Next, we would suggest Oregon State University Extension Mushroom Compost - Use Carefully. And, finally, Dave's Cave - Mushroom Compost. Frankly, by the time we were finished reading all these, we were not very much in favor of the concept. Some words kept popping up, like "salts," "heavy metals," "straw," "corn cobs" and "fresh manure." It probably wouldn't do any harm, but we think some nice healthy compost with live organisms to help break down the soil and make nutrients more available would be better, and possibly cheaper. Or you can make your own compost, but that takes a while. 

Since you didn't tell us what plants you purchased, we recommend that you use our Native Plant Database to look each one up in order to understand how much water, sun and space each needs. And don't wait long too get them planted, they all need to get out of those pots into some real dirt before it starts getting hot.

 

 

More Transplants Questions

Mystic Spires salvia in transplant shock
July 04, 2008 - Hello. I live in Taylor, Tx. Just outside Austin, Texas. I recently planted mystic spires. One gallons and will receive the hot afternoon sun. All the research says they can tolerate this location. Th...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Mexican bonebract in Floresville, TX
November 12, 2008 - My kids and I finally identified a small plant that we found growing in our pasture. There was only one and it is lovely. It is the Mexican Bonebract. What I am interested in finding out is how to tra...
view the full question and answer

Trimming prairie coneflower for lower height when blooming in Hampshire IL
August 16, 2009 - Can the prairie coneflower, Ratibida Columnifera, be cut by half or some amount before setting flower buds to force the plant to bloom at a shorter height? If not, when is the best time to dig and tra...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on possumhaw holly in Grandview TX
July 02, 2009 - What would be likely causes for brown leaves on possumhaw holly? We have 2, one was planted in spring 2008, and a slightly larger one planted late winter/early spring this year. Most of the leaves a...
view the full question and answer

Care of Styphnolobium affine, Eves necklace
October 05, 2007 - I have an 18 yr old Eve's Necklace tree that is dying from the "bottom up". It has only a few leaves at the very top of the tree. I have, connected to the gutter, a rain barrel from which the exc...
view the full question and answer

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