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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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Thursday - August 23, 2012

From: clayton, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Planting, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Need a good plant for Clayton, NC.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What would be a good plant for Clayton,NC for this time of year. I would like for it to come back every year so I don't have to replant. I have several full sun areas that I need to cover in the front of the house and around my mailbox? thanks

ANSWER:


That sort of depends on what you want your plant to do this time of year; flower? produce fruit? change colors? You’ve indicated that you would like a perennial plant, so the next decision is whether you want shrubs or smaller plants (herbs).

Lets start by going to our Native Plant Database . Scroll down to our Recommend Species Lists and click on "View Recommend Species page". Click on North Carolina on the map, and you will get a list of 135 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in North Carolina. This is too many for now, so go to the Narrow Your Search box on the right side of the screen and select North Carolina under State, shrub under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check sun under Light requirement and dry under Soil moisture. Click the Narrow your Search button, and you will get a  list of 6 native shrubs for North Carolina landscapes. Clicking  on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, its growth characteristics and requirements, and in most cases images. As you check out each plant, you can note its size, bloom time, and other features.
You can repeat the search , and this time select herb under Habit (leave all other selections the same). Clicking the Narrow Your Search button will give you a list of 9 flowering herbs for you consideration. As you become more familiar with the Database, you will find that there are several different lists that you can generate.

With a little perseverance, you will be able to pick the right plants for the right place at t he right time.
For help closer to home, you might contact the folks at the Cooperative Extension for Johnston County.

Here's a few possibilities:

Shrubs

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)

Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac)

Herbs

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

Coreopsis verticillata (Threadleaf coreopsis)

Rudbeckia triloba (Browneyed susan)

 

From the Image Gallery


Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Threadleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis verticillata

Browneyed susan
Rudbeckia triloba

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