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

Friday - June 06, 2014

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shade Tolerant, Cacti and Succulents
Title: Container plant in difficult sun exposure from Leander TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

HELP!!!! I have a large Mexican terracotta pot on my front porch. This awkward area is facing westward, so receives the full dose of Texas sun after about 3 pm onward. Now here's the catch; my front porch is covered, so it also receives full shade til at least 3pm. I have tried several species that were recommended by my local garden center, but to no lasting avail. I would like something with a little height, say 3 foot round-ish. At this point, anything would help. I almost forgot, I have a drip irrigation system, so water would not be an issue.

ANSWER:

This member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team has a very similar problem. I live on the second floor of an apartment complex facing West. I have a small porch which is my sole outlet for gardening. Over some years of dealing with this type of problem, I have come to the decision that one of the most dependable choices in such a case is native Texas succulents. This does not mean you have to have thorny plants on your porch. All cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti.

These plants are not going to put out constant, conspicuos blooms in bright colors. But they also will not bloom and then quickly die because of blazing sun, reflected off a stucco wall behind them. There are some succulents, like agave, that will save up energy for years to bloom spectacularly and then die. Most of them are not plants you would want children playing with or pets chewing on, but they are almost architectural in shape, usually evergreen and conversation pieces. We are going to list some of the ones we have on our porch right now; follow each link to the webpage on that plant for care, planting, etc. Just as a side note, many succulents, native and non-native, can be purchased at most plant outlets. Those on my porch were all purchased from the Lady Bird Johnson Wilflower Center semi-annual Plant Sales. We also suggest you read our How to Article Container Gardening with Native Plants.

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Euphorbia antisyphilitica (Candelilla)

Hechtia texensis (Texas false agave)

Hechtia glomerata (Guapilla)

Manfreda variegata (Mottled tuberose)

Manfreda maculosa (False aloe)

Manfreda sileri (Siler's tuberose)

Manfreda virginica (False aloe)

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sacahuista
Nolina texana

Candelilla
Euphorbia antisyphilitica

Texas false agave
Hechtia texensis

Guapilla
Hechtia glomerata

Mottled tuberose
Manfreda variegata

False aloe
Manfreda maculosa

Siler's tuberose
Manfreda sileri

False aloe
Manfreda virginica

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Grass for shady area
June 21, 2011 - I need to find a grass that can grow in a shady area, with some sun. Drought resistant and preferably native to the area. Would like to find a sod if possible. I know it's not a great time to plant n...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for shady slope in Illinois
May 31, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty: I have a shady sloping area that I am trying to cover with low fast growing, perennials that will keep maintenance to the minimum and prevent erosion. Grass would be very difficul...
view the full question and answer

Selection of shade tree and distance from house
February 19, 2008 - I live in California in zone 8b. I have seen the lists of trees for my area. I am still not clear on what tree to select. I would like to plant a nice tall shady tree very close to my house, but I wan...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for erosion from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I live in Austin and my house backs up to Shoal Creek. I am looking for a native creeping vine or something that will grow on the shaded bank to help prevent erosion. It should be able to tolerate the...
view the full question and answer

Low evergreen drought-resistant shrubs for area in partial shade
January 03, 2014 - I promised my mom to help her with some new plants for her house, so here goes. She lives near Waco on Blackland clay soil. The problem area is right in front of the house. It only receives a few hour...
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