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?


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

Thursday - November 29, 2007

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Evergreen plants for shaded bed and removing bermuda grass.
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I have two questions. First, the back of our house in Williamson County faces north. We have plant beds (about one foot wide and the length of the house) up against the back wall, and I would like some good evergreen plants to put in them. Since we don't have gutters, when it rains, the planters get substantial water. Varous colors and heights would be great. I already have Nandina in a couple of places and a Indian Hawthorne at one end. What else would be good in that kind of shady environment? Second, how do I get rid of the bermudagrass in the St. Augustine in my front lawn? Between that and some low-growing weed with tiny white flowers, I can't keep my lawn looking nice. Thanks for your help.


Mr. Smarty Plants recommends the following native evergreen plants (mostly shrubs or small trees) that do well in part shade (2 hours or more of sunshine per day):

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel)

The following are not evergreen, but do well in less than 2 hours of sun per day:

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Wedelia texana (hairy wedelia) This plant remains evergreen in mild winters or the southern part of its range.


Several sedges are evergreen and will grow in part shade:

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)


Now, for your "bermuda grass in the St. Augustine" question, someone asked us almost the identical question a couple of years ago and I refer you to the answer Mr. Smarty Plants gave for it.


Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Lonicera sempervirens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Morella cerifera

Nolina texana

Rhus virens

Sophora secundiflora

Aquilegia canadensis

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Salvia coccinea

Wedelia texana

Carex texensis

Carex cherokeensis



More Shade Tolerant Questions

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

Need help with stabilizing a partial shaded slope in Prince George's County, MD.
September 08, 2009 - I have a partial shade sloped area about 40 ft. x 100ft; that is at the top of a natural drainage. Slope is maybe 10%. There is a thin layer of topsoil on top of a heavier clay layer (it was pasture...
view the full question and answer

North-central Texas shrubs for part-shade
March 30, 2011 - I need a shrub that will be OK in shade (2-3 hrs a day max.), in fairly well-drained soil, will grow to around 8 ft. tall and 4-6 wide, for the region between Denton and Gainesville. If it flowers, al...
view the full question and answer

Annabelle hydrangeas blossoms drooping to ground in Wilmette, IL
April 10, 2011 - I have a row of Annabelle Hydrangeas that become very heavy and droop over the entire width of the bed. I would like to know what I can use for support so that they will stand up and allow me to plan...
view the full question and answer

Vines for a shady porch in Oregon
February 22, 2010 - My husband and I just bought our first home this fall in St. Johns, Portland. We would like to grow a vine on our front porch, but it is in full shade. It faces north east. We planted some jasmine vin...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center