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

Wednesday - August 20, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Container Gardens, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs
Title: Shady Container Plant for Austin
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for a tall plant/small shrub/ornamental grass for a very large pot that is placed against the north wall of our Austin home. That spot gets some morning sun in the summer, but virtually none in the winter. What do you recommend?

ANSWER:

Without knowing the exact size of your container, it is difficult to suggest an appropriate plant, but the Native Plant Database is a great resource to give you some possibilities to further investigate.

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants for your shady container is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: TX, Habit – Shrub, Duration – Perennial, Light Requirement – Shade, Soil Moisture – Dry, and Size – 3-12 feet. Once you have looked over the shrubs from this list, change the category to grasses and then trees.

Some of the plants to consider from this search are:
 
Grasses
Setaria scheelei (Southwestern bristlegrass)
Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Shrubs for dry soils
Elaeagnus commutata (Silverberry)
Forestiera pubsescens (Stretchbery)
Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush)
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk’s cap)
Rhus aromatic (Fragrant sumac)
Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac)
Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto)
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (Mapleleaf viburnum)
Viburnum rafinesquianum (Downy arrowwood)

Shrubs for wet soils
Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)
Clethra alnifolia (Coastal sweet pepperbush)
Viburnum dentatum (Southern arrowwood)
Viburnum nudum var. cassinoides (Withe-rod)

Trees
Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel)
Ilex verticillata (Common winterberry)

 

From the Image Gallery


Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Southwestern bristlegrass
Setaria scheelei

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Common winterberry
Ilex verticillata

Stretchberry
Forestiera pubescens

Northern spicebush
Lindera benzoin

Turk's cap or turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Mapleleaf viburnum
Viburnum acerifolium

Downy arrowwood
Viburnum rafinesquianum

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Grassburs in native lawn in Utopia TX
June 22, 2010 - I recently planted native Texas grass (Buffalograss, blue grama & curly mesquite) at my new house in the hill country. I had to bring in all the top soil. The grass is doing great, but in one area o...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control for a Shaded Slope in Aliquippa PA
May 07, 2014 - What plants. shrubs or trees can I plant to retard soil erosion on a steep shaded hillside in PA
view the full question and answer

What to do about grass dying under pin oaks in Iowa
December 10, 2008 - We have 2 pin oaks about 15 years old in our front yard. The grass has started dying out under and around them. What can we do?
view the full question and answer

Native Hill Country grasses, flowers for April garden show
March 17, 2005 - I will be a first ever (!) exhibitor in my garden club's garden show this April 7. Our theme is The Passion of Texas - my specific category is The Hill Country. Help!!! All materials I use must be al...
view the full question and answer

Limiting erosion around pond from Brooklyn Park MN
May 20, 2013 - Minnesota resident, wants to find plant limit erosion from pond?
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