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

Sunday - April 24, 2011

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: Companion planting with heartleaf skullcap from Arlington TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What can I plant with heart-leaf skullcap when it goes dormant in the summer?

ANSWER:

Scutellaria ovata (Heart-leaf skullcap) is a perennial, evergreen in winter, 1-3 ft. tall, and blooms blue, violet from April to June. According to this USDA Plant Profile map, it does not grow natively in North Central Texas, but rather in Central and East Texas. We are not sure what you mean as "dormant," perhaps the non-blooming period after June? If that is true, we will presume you are looking for a companion plant that will provide color in the area into the Summer and Fall. 

We will look at plants native to North Central Texas, both annual and perennial, and assume they can do well in the same environment in which your skullcap is located. On our webpage on this plant (which you can read in full by following the plant link above) is this information:  "Native Habitat: In open woodlands, along roads, and on brushy slopes in East and South Texas. Moist sand, loam, clay, limestone." Also on that page are the Growing Conditions for skullcap:

"Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Conditions Comments: Heart-leaf skullcap is an under-utilized plant for gardens. The showy blue flowers bloom on spikes similar in form to Salvia sp. It colonizes vigorously by underground, fleshy roots. Oily glands on the leaves make it possibly deer resistant. In winter, heartleaf skullcap displays evergreen foliage. Nectar source for adult butterflies."

In terms of planting other plants in the same bed, we would call your attention to the sentence "It colonizes vigorously by underground, fleshy roots." This plant is a member of the Lamiaceae, or Mint family, which is well known for vigorous colonization, if not invasiveness, sometimes impeding the establishment of other plants. We will go to our Recommended Species section, click on North Central Texas on the map; then, on the right-hand sidebar, select on "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant" under General Appearance, and the blooming months of June, July, August, September and October, and Narrow Your Search, which gave us 37 choices. We have four examples of plants that we like below; you should read every webpage on those four, and then look at other possibilities, paying attention to the amount of sunlight and moisture available.

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower) - perennial, 3 ft tall, blooms blue July to November

Eryngium leavenworthii (Leavenworth's eryngo) - 3 ft. annual, purple July to September

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia (Tahoka daisy) - 1 ft., annual, blooms blue June to October

Melampodium leucanthum (Blackfoot daisy) - 1 ft., perennial, blooms white March to November

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Conoclinium coelestinum


Eryngium leavenworthii


Machaeranthera tanacetifolia


Melampodium leucanthum

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Something eating cannas in Austin
July 14, 2012 - What is eating my cannas?
view the full question and answer

Cottony infestation on Turk's Cap in Austin
July 05, 2010 - The Turks Cap in my front planter is well-established and, overall, happy and blooming. However, some of the top leaves, those in the most shaded area, have what looks like a thin, loose layer of cot...
view the full question and answer

How do I prepare blackfoot daisies for winter in Austin, TX
October 19, 2010 - I have blackfoot daisies in my garden that have bloomed all summer. They are cascading out of the bed onto my lawn/grass. They have been so beautiful that I hate to cut them back. How do I prepare t...
view the full question and answer

Blackfoot daisy declining in Austin
September 04, 2010 - My Blackfoot Daisies have grown large, bushy, have bloomed well over the past two summers. Now parts of the plants are drying up, dying. Will pruning out the dead parts help the plants to survive, or ...
view the full question and answer

Blackfoot daisy turning brown in Round Rock, TX
September 30, 2009 - A few days ago, our blackfoot daisy was doing wonderfully. Then we got heavy rains and suddenly the plant is sere and brown. Did the too wet weather do this, and will it come back next year?
view the full question and answer

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