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

Replacing non-native boxwood in Austin
October 03, 2011 - I have a large maze garden, possibly boxwood, originally planted in the 1950's, in Austin, Texas. About 1/3 of it has died out, probably due to drought, heat and age. Should I attempt to replant ju...
view the full question and answer

Sun loving plants for flower bed by the pool in Weatherford Texas
October 03, 2011 - We have a 40' long x 2 1/2' wide flowerbed along our pool. It is in full sun with the pool deck across the front and a 6' privacy fence across back. Also, the level of the bed is 18" below the l...
view the full question and answer

Duplicate of English holly for Eufaula OK
January 03, 2010 - I wish to have a shrub that would duplicate the red berries and foliage of English holly. Tolerance of cultivation is also desired.
view the full question and answer

Shrubs to block dust from dirt road
May 01, 2011 - I live on a dirt road in Northwest Missouri. Could you recommend a fast growing, low maintenance shrub/bush that will form a barrier to block the dust from the dirt road? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Advice for Texas Mountain Laurel in shady, narrow bed.
June 08, 2015 - My house faces N/NE and gets a lot of shade. I would like to plant a Texas Mountain Laurel in my narrow front bed, but what is the best way to amend my clay soil since it prefers rocky soil? What woul...
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