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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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Saturday - May 13, 2006

From: Flower Mound, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Cacti and Succulents, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Native plants for full sun and low maintenance
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I have volunteered to plant flowers/bushes around a sign at my church. I want to plant indigenous plants so the maintenance is low but I also want attractive plants. The soil is clay and the location is exposed 24/7 to the elements. I thought about the yucca but I don't know what other plants would work with it.

ANSWER:

Since yuccas usually grow in full sun and will not bloom in shade, the suggestions here will be for plants native to your region that need a lot of sunlight.

Yuccas

Arkansas Yucca (Yucca arkansana)
Pale-leaf Yucca (Yucca pallida)

Ornamental Bunchgrasses

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Lindheimer Muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri) - This grass is actually native a bit south of you, in Central Texas, but it should do well in North Texas if your bed is well drained.

Spring-blooming Perennial Flowers

Pink Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa) - pink blooms
Winecups (Callirhoë involucrata) - purple blooms
Foxglove Penstemon (Penstemon cobaea) - pink blooms

Spring, Summer, and Fall-blooming Perennial Flower

Greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium) - yellow blooms

Summer and Fall-blooming Low Shrub

Black Dalea (Dalea frutescens) - purple blooms

Fall-blooming Perennial Flower

Liatris/Blazing Star/Gayfeather (Liatris mucronata) - purple blooms

When you're ready to purchase plants, consult our National Suppliers Directory for native plant retailers in your area.


Yucca arkansana

Yucca pallida

Schizachyrium scoparium

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Oenothera speciosa

Callirhoe involucrata

Penstemon cobaea

Thelesperma filifolium

Dalea frutescens

Liatris mucronata
 

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