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?

Share

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

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

Watering trees and shrubs in Buda TX
August 08, 2009 - Should we be watering our green ash, red tips, chinkapin, burr oaks and yaupon shrubs during the drought? They are all starting to brown and drop leaves. THANKS!
view the full question and answer

Puppy-proof plants in Denton TX
June 04, 2010 - I recently got a couple of puppies that stay outside in a fenced off area of the backyard. Of course, they love trying to dig under the fence and get out. I placed cement landscaping border stones alo...
view the full question and answer

Roses for Austin soil
May 01, 2014 - What roses would work in the soil near Lake Austin Spa?
view the full question and answer

What gives the Creosote bush its characteristic smell?
August 09, 2011 - Good evening, Mr. Smarty Plants, There is a question which I would please like to ask regarding a plant called "Creosote Bush" (Larrea tridentata)- does it actually smell like the creosote...
view the full question and answer

Revegetation with Rosa Woodsii in Heber UT
July 26, 2013 - I am using Woods Roses for a revegetation project (to stop trail short cutting) in a public picnic area. Growing them from seed was too slow so I am experimenting with transplanting and it is working ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center