En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Low evergreen drought-resistant shrubs for area in partial shade

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - January 03, 2014

From: Hewitt, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Low evergreen drought-resistant shrubs for area in partial shade
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I promised my mom to help her with some new plants for her house, so here goes. She lives near Waco on Blackland clay soil. The problem area is right in front of the house. It only receives a few hours of sunlight every morning and since she is elderly, she isn't likely to provide any extra water. She has gutters also, so runoff is reduced. She has some type of Asian evergreen shrubs that alternately die from time to time leaving ugly gaps. I want to install some natives that can handle this mostly dry, shady environment. The dining room window needs to have a clear view of the yard & drive. The front bedroom window isn't used all that much, so we have more wiggle room there. The windows are approximately 2 feet off the ground. On either side of the windows we have full height brick walls. I would like to use some evergreens if possible. If not, I need some plants that are ornamental when they are dormant. I would be interested in any plant from vine to tree that you would recommend. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Here are several recommendations for evergreen shrubs, vines and shrub-like plants for the areas you describe at your elderly mother's home:

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is evergreen and the female plants produce red berries that birds like to eat.  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.  It can be pruned but there are also dwarf varieties available:

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo) is also evergreen (or maybe 'evergray' is a better descriptor) and produces beautiful purple flowers several times a year.  It does best in full sun but will grow in partial shade.  Again, this plant can be pruned to shape but there are also dwarf versions of it.  Here is more information from Maggie's Garden.

Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita) is evergreen and will grow in sun and part shade.  It produces edible red berries that are difficult to pick because its leaves are very prickly.  Here is more information from Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture.

Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac) is evergreen and will grow in sun and part shade.  Although it can grow to 10 feet, it can be pruned.  Here is more information from Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture.

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) is evergreen, grass-like and grows to 1.5 to 2.5 feet and does well in part shade and dry conditions.  Here is more information from Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture.

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is evergreen and drought tolerant once established.  It will grow in sun or part shade.  There are dwarf varieties (Myrica cerifera var. pumila = Morella cerifera var. pumilla).  Here is more information from Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture.

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto) is evergreen and grows in sun, part shade and shade to 5 or 10 feet.   It might do well in front of the bedroom windows.   it will require moisture to get established but then will be able to tolerate drought.  Here is more information from Floridata.

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) is an evergreen vine that will grow on a trellis in sun or part shade.  Here is more information from Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Agarita
Mahonia trifoliolata

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

More Shrubs Questions

Dog and kid barrier in East Wenatchee WA
October 01, 2009 - I have about a 8 foot section between my driveway and the neighbor's yard, and their kids and dogs like to run through it! I would like to plant a non-invasive 4-6 foot growing shrub/bush of some s...
view the full question and answer

Small shrubs for landscape in Kansas
April 20, 2013 - I am intersted in small shrubs for the landscaping in front of our house located in Topeka,KS. Many of the shrubs I looked at are 5 foot in width in height. The plants will receive morning sun.
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow plants non-toxic to horses
April 07, 2012 - What would be a good, fast growing, hedgerow plant that is NON-POISONOUS TO HORSES? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree or shrub in Massachusetts
May 16, 2013 - Good morning, We are in Zone 5 and have a tree/shrub I cannot identify in the backyard of our new home. Tall (6')and growing, green stems,and when the stems are broken the branches smell of lemon o...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center