Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Tuesday - April 10, 2012

From: Spicewood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Need plants for new wrought iron planter in Spicewood,TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Spicewood, Texas, and have just purchased some really nice wrought iron window boxes for my patio railing. What would be the best and prettiest plants to use? Thank you

ANSWER:

Well first, I’m going to refer you to our “How To Article” on Container Gardening. This article will guide you through the joys (and problems) of growing plants just outside your door. You’ll have control of the soil composition, and the water they will receive. The other variable will be the amount of sunlight they receive, depending of the orientation of your patio.

For plant selection, let me show you how to use our Recommended Species List. Go to our Native Plant Database. Scroll down to the Recommended Species Box and click on the “View Recommended  Species Page” button. Click Central Texas on the map,  and you will get a list of 156 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Central Texas. You can look through the list, but that’s too many plants to deal with now. Go to the Narrow Your Search box and make these selections: select Texas under State, herb under General Appearance, and Perennial under Lifespan (we can change that later). Check Sun (or the condition that exists on your patio) under light Requirement, Moist under Soil Moisture, and 0-1 & 1-3 under height. Click on the Narrow Your Search button and your list shrinks to 16. You can get different lists by changing your selections. Go through the list, and when you click on the Scientific Name of each plant, its NPIN page will come up that tells the plant’s characteristics, growth requirements, and has images in most cases.

Using this information can help you find just the plants for your new planters. Going to our Suppliers Directory will help you find businesses that carry native plants.

Clicking on this link will give you the particulars about our upcoming Spring Plant Sale, April 13 - 15, 2012.

 

More Planting Questions

Landscaping help for Gilmer, TX
September 01, 2008 - We have just moved to the beautiful hot state of Texas from warm California and we need some help! Our roses are dying, we have a patch about 25ft. by 3ft. that gets the rain run off like a little str...
view the full question and answer

Damage to yucca in San Marcos TX
October 18, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, thank you for helping me with my buffalo grass is San Marcos TX back in the spring, my lawn is gorgeous thanks to you! I really need your help as someone sabotaged my beauti...
view the full question and answer

Moving "lily of the valley" from MD to TX. Is that OK?
January 17, 2012 - My question pertains to lily of the valley. From your database, I learned that it is a native plant but only the following states were listed: GA , KY , NC , PA , SC , TN , VA , WV. I am moving from...
view the full question and answer

Bermuda, not the only option in Memphis
November 04, 2014 - I'm building an energy efficient home in Memphis and want to extend that strategy to the landscaping. I'd like to plant native grasses, but this lot is surrounded by lots sodded with Bermuda grass....
view the full question and answer

What to do with soil left over from new driveway in Austin
January 07, 2011 - When we had a new driveway put in in Mid-December, the topsoil and weedy grass was scraped into a low pile. I watered it and covered it with black plastic to kill all the plant matter. How long should...
view the full question and answer

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