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
9 ratings

Monday - January 21, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Texas natives that are shade tolerant for Austin, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for Texas native plants that are shade tolerant....specifically agaves (How about the Century Agave and the Queen Victoria Agave?) and something to add a splash of color (like bulbine, columbine, skull cap, penstemon, texas betony, and twist leaf yuccas). Your comments and suggestions would be much appreciated!

ANSWER:

Why don't we start with your plant suggestions and if those don't fill your requirement of shade-tolerant Texas natives, we'll dig a little deeper. (Excuse that, gardener joke)

First of all, with the possible exception of Agave americana (American century plant), which can tolerate some light shade, all of the agaves are listed as requiring sun. The Agave victoria-reginae does not appear on our Native Plants Database but we did find the website link above with some information on it. However, it appears that it is native to the Chihuahuan desert at elevations of 4000-5000 feet and may be considered a protected species.

The Bulbine frutescens not only is not native to Texas, it isn't native to North America, which is the main focus of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It is a native of South Africa and the above website can give you some information, including the fact that it can tolerate some light shade.

There are a number of Columbines that are native or distributed in Texas. Probably the toughest and best-flowering of these is Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine), which requires some shade.

Of the 22 species of skullcap, we found these that were both native to Texas and admitted to needing shade to part shade: Scutellaria ovata (heartleaf skullcap), Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata (heartleaf skullcap), Scutellaria resinosa (sticky skullcap), and Scutellaria wrightii (Wright's skullcap).

When we went hunting for penstemon, there were 115 possibilities when we searched the database. We picked four that require shade to part shade, and are Texas natives. If you need more choices, go to the Native Plant Database and use the Combination Search to see what others interest you. The ones we chose are: Penstemon ambiguus (gilia beardtongue), Penstemon baccharifolius (baccharisleaf beardtongue), Penstemon cardinalis (cardinal beardtongue), and Penstemon cobaea (cobaea beardtongue).

Finally, Stachys coccinea (scarlet hedgenettle) (Texas Betony) and Yucca pallida (twistleaf yucca are both Texas natives needing sun to shade.

So, you have a pretty good list. There are no doubt many, many more that will suit your requirements. Just keep adjusting your search characteristics in the Native Plant Database, and you'll hopefully find everything you want.


Agave americana

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

Scutellaria ovata

Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata

Scutellaria resinosa

Scutellaria wrightii

Penstemon ambiguus

Penstemon baccharifolius

Penstemon cardinalis

Penstemon cobaea

Stachys coccinea

Yucca pallida

 















 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Edible plants in shade in Enville TN
June 15, 2009 - I have a flower bed against the back of my house with nothing in it. We moved into this house late last year and I was planning on planting some tomato plants there until I discovered it never gets an...
view the full question and answer

Plants to disguise plastic rainbarrels in dry shade
April 29, 2008 - What plants would you recommend to disguise blue plastic rainbarrels in dry shade?
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for shady area
March 27, 2009 - We are looking to plant a privacy hedge around the perimeter of our yard that will grow to 6 or 8 feet tall - some of the perimeter is exposed to sun and we will likely go with evergreen sumac - howev...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for shade in Paris, Texas
November 02, 2009 - I have a south exposure with 2 large sycamore trees. Noon sun in patches and mainly dappled shade but not dense. I'm consideering planting asian ivy. The soil is "sandy loam" but it's very sand...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
November 01, 2011 - I live in far NE Tarrant County (Ft Worth), TX and need a groundcover that can tolerate complete shade and poor, rocky, clay soil. I need mostly for erosion control, and needs to be relatively low
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center