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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 - April 24, 2014

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Flowering Shrub for Houston, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I live in Houston, Texas and would like to plant a flowering shrub 3-6 feet in height. It will get sun to part sun, 2-6 hours daily. I have had azaleas in this area and am now looking for something to replace them. My azaleas were 20 years old.

ANSWER:

You have lots of choices.   This question is a perfect application for one of the Wildflower Center websites most useful features.  As the Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use of native species, the replacement of your old azaleas is right down our line!

If you look to the left of the webpage, one of the links available is to “Recommended Species”.  Within that link, you can choose the different plant lists by state, province, ecoregion or a few other popular choices.

If I choose South Texas, the full list of native plants found there is presented in this link. But that is not all!  On the left side of this new webpage there is the capability to reduce the listing by sorting for several key aspects.  These include general appearance, light requirement, water requirement, bloom color and height.  You can sort that list by any or all of these criteria.  Simply choosing “Shrubs”, the height and “Partial Shade” results in a shorter list.

It has 10 candidates for replacements for your Azaleas. Mr Smarty Plants would recommend one of these: 
Abutilon hypoleucum (Rio grande abutilon)    
Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) 
Chromolaena odorata (Jack in the bush)   
Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)  
Malpighia glabra (Acerola)   
Pavonia lasiopetala (Rock rose)   

 

From the Image Gallery


Rio grande abutilon
Abutilon hypoleucum

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

Blue mistflower
Chromolaena odorata

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Barbados cherry
Malpighia glabra

Rock rose
Pavonia lasiopetala

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