En Español

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

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Butterfly plants from Austin TX
December 17, 2012 - I have a butterfly garden in the front part of the house facing the south side. However it is also mostly under a few Oak trees that cast shadow over half of the front yard starting early afternoon. ...
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

Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
May 05, 2009 - We live on a lake with gravelly and clay soils, lots of wind and little sun. I am looking for a native ground cover that will help reduce erosion over some of the steep slopes facing south (under shad...
view the full question and answer

Native turkscap failing to thrive in Shiro TX
March 19, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Two years ago I transplanted several native (not cultivars) Drummond's turkscaps in the proximity of water oaks in the front yard. All get shade and some sun. They seemed to ...
view the full question and answer

Trees for shade in Austin
May 20, 2012 - I live in Austin and I am looking for a good tree to plant under a large live oak I have in my backyard. Something slow-growing of course and, the garden only gets late day sun for about an hour. Filt...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center