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

Erosion control on partially shaded slope
November 27, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Atlanta, GA. My house is on a hill, and I am beginning to have erosion at my backyard porch (concrete slab, on the corners especially). The soil is mainly red clay, a...
view the full question and answer

Plants for the Shade of a Pine Tree in Pittsburg
June 03, 2013 - I live in Pittsburgh, PA. My neighbor has a huge pine tree. Last year everything I planted on that side near the tree died. That part of the yard only gets morning sun, as the tree overshadows it. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for shady slope in Kentucky backyard
August 28, 2013 - I live in northern Kentucky (near Cincinnati). I have an area in my backyard that has slope. It is next to an ash tree and is very shady. Water erosion has washed away the top soil and pretty much no...
view the full question and answer

Shady shrubs for an ugly fence in New Jersey.
June 23, 2011 - What type of tree or shrub can I plant in 07747 NJ to cover an ugly fence that gets little or no sun. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in shade in Iowa
July 02, 2010 - I work for a small non-profit shelter here in Dubuque, Ia. that has a very steep slope behind the building that needs some sort of plant or grass planted to stop erosion. The slope gets little to no s...
view the full question and answer

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