En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Need a native, evergreen shrub to replace Pittosporum in Austin, TX

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

Tuesday - May 13, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Need a native, evergreen shrub to replace Pittosporum in Austin, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We've had a PITTOSPORUM for years as a foundation planting on the southwest corner of our central Austin home. Now that it's gone, I would like to replace with a native, non-invasive shrub. What are your suggestions? It'll be next to an abelia.

ANSWER:

Let me start by  stating the mission of the Ladybird Johnson Wild Flower Center:
The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.

What this means is that native plants are what Mr. Smarty Plants is all about. Neither Pittosporum nor Abelia fit that category. This How To Article explains our penchant for native plants.

Moving on, I want to show you how to use our Native Plants Database .  Click on Recommended Species at the bottom of the list under Native Plants to the left of the page. Now click on Central Texas on the map. This will bring up a list of 157 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Central Texas. This is too many plants for now, so go down the page to the Combination Search box and make the following selections:  select Texas under State, shrub under Habit, and perennial under Lifespan. Check part shade under Light Requirement, moist under Soil Moisture, 12 - 16 under Height, and evergreen under Leaf Retention. Click the Narrow your search button and your list shrinks to six plants. Clicking on the Scientific name  of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant along with its growth characteristics and requirements, and in most cases images.

Here are three possibilities from the list.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

This answer to a previous question also provides some suggestions.

 

From the Image Gallery


Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Native sun shrubs and perennials to replace St. Augustine
June 06, 2008 - Hi, I live in Austin and I'm removing the St. Augustine from the southwest side of our house. This area gets intense sun all afternoon, and I'd really like to use a combination of native shrubs and...
view the full question and answer

Vines and shrubs for wildlife cover and food
December 14, 2007 - I own property in Stephens County about 10 miles north of Breckenridge, TX along the Clear Fork of the Brazos River. I have 45 acres that is open field and I want to provide cover and food for wildli...
view the full question and answer

Pale leaves and brown tips on Tecoma stans in Austin
November 12, 2008 - I have a Tecoma Stans planted in a large galvanized container in a sunny spot. It has grown very fast in the last few months and flowers regularly, but the leaves are pale and the tips are turning bro...
view the full question and answer

Native, non-invasive plants for Canaan Valley, WV
April 23, 2006 - I recently purchased a home on an acre of land in the middle of Canaan Valley, WV. The front yard is flat and sunny, the back is on a ridge and is a little forest with a creek at the bottom. The tre...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and trees to protect beehives in Godley TX
April 06, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is there a (relatively) fast growing native small tree or large shrub (NOT cedar) that tolerates Johnson County clay, full sun, sometimes damp and sometimes dry soil with no...
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