En EspaŅol

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?


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
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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 24, 2014

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


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.


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

Leucophyllum frutescens

Malpighia glabra

Rock rose
Pavonia lasiopetala

More Shrubs Questions

Identification of mystery shrub in West Virginia
August 13, 2007 - Hi, my husband and I purchased some land to build a home. After we dug out the driveway a large shrub or tree started growing in the altered dirt that I have never seen and I don't know what it is. I...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for city lot in Longview, TX
March 19, 2008 - Just bought a city lot in Longview, TX and want to put in some plants at the periphery even before the house is built. Can you recommend any that would be from your list of East TX plants that are pa...
view the full question and answer

Companion Plants for Texas Mountain Laurel
March 12, 2015 - I am building a garden from scratch and need help. I want to plant a Texas mountain laurel on each front section of my house in front of a window, and I also want to use Thumbelina Leigh English laven...
view the full question and answer

Non-native red-tip photinias dying in San Antonio
August 20, 2009 - A 17 year old Red tip Photinia in a hedge shows signs of dying. The main stalks are quite large and offshoots from two of the stalks have brittle, drooping leaves. The center of the plant looks norm...
view the full question and answer

Repotting of lemon cypress for drainage
October 26, 2008 - Hi, I bought a lemon cypress tree in a nice tin, It is in Plastic and the bottom has about 1.5" of water with no drainage in the plastic or tin. It will be kept inside. Does the plant need to be in...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center