Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 03, 2007

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Spring blooming plants for spring sun and summer shade
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in San Antonio. I'm faced with a dilemma. I've got mature native pecans. In the summer they provide beautiful full shade. However, in the winter and even into the late spring, my yard is in full blazing sun. Since pecans leaf out so much later than all other trees, this full blazing sun lasts into the late spring. This is a real dilemma for shade loving plants. However, the summer shade presents a problem for sun loving plants. The problem is worse in the spring, when it is getting hot What can I plant that will bloom at least in early spring, or at a time before my pecans leaf out. This year, I planted Hinkley's Columbine, but it ended up rotting. I don't think it is well adapted to San Antonio. The appearance of the sun loving plants under the shade doesn't bother me. It is the shade loving plants under the blazing sun that suffer. I was thinking of possibly Salvia coccinia? It seems like it blooms as soon as the the last frost. I've also considered Pavonia. (Although some of these plants may not bloom in the summer shade, I don't think it will "hurt" the plant to be in summer shade.) Are there any other spring blooming plants that do well in sun, but can tolerate summer shade?

ANSWER:

Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage), as well as Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage), Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) and Scutellaria ovata (heartleaf skullcap) from the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family), would all be good choices.

Other possibilities are Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow), Pavonia lasiopetala (rose pavonia), Packera obovata (golden groundsel), and Lantana urticoides (Texas lantana).

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) and Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats) don't have colorful blossoms but both have interesting foliage and should do well in this situation.


Salvia coccinea

Salvia roemeriana

Salvia lyrata

Scutellaria ovata

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Pavonia lasiopetala

Packera obovata

Lantana urticoides

Chasmanthium latifolium

Parthenocissus quinquefolia
 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for narrow moist shade in Dallas
October 05, 2009 - We are looking for plants in a narrow strip next to our house. It is a shady area that holds a lot of water. We would love plants that would help take water out of the soil. Do you have any suggest...
view the full question and answer

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Low-growing plants for a slope in the shade
July 08, 2013 - Hello, I'm looking for native plants to put in the shade (within the drip-line) of a well-established American Holly. The area gets deep shade; it is also on a very gentle north-exposure slope. We ...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers suitable for full sun and partial shade in the Dallas, Texas area
October 22, 2007 - What wildflowers are best for the Dallas area both in sunny and semi shade locations? Are you able to purchase by mail?
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling plants for a shady Minnesota lakeside
August 11, 2015 - I live about 50 yards from a lake and there is a steep embankment. Recently someone decided to cut the trees off the embankment and now the dirt is eroding off the embankment as well as off my back ya...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.