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

Monday - March 31, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native shrubs that can be pruned to shape in Austin, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have some shrubs in our NE facing front yard in Austin in the Steiner Ranch Area. The shrubs are native, and give good flowers in spring and summer, but are not trimmable and I want something like native holly that maintains a good shape. I'd like your opinion on some replacement shrubs that hug the foundation/front face of the house. How do I upload a pictur


Finding a shrub native to Texas that takes trimming and/or shaping well is not all that easy. Most Texas plants are more nearly free spirits, sticking stems and thorns every which way. However, two of our favorites for foundation plants are Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) and Ilex vomitoria (yaupon). Both will grow well in Central Texas, and both grow fairly quickly and can be pruned for shape. They both ordinarily need more than 6 hours of sun a day, but can get by on a little less, which may be the case since you want them on the side of your house facing northeast.

It also looked like you were asking how to upload a picture. Go to the Mr. Smarty Plants page, and look in the lower right-hand corner for full instructions.

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex vomitoria



More Shrubs Questions

Edible forest garden for northern Minnesota
March 07, 2014 - I am planning an edible forest garden for northern Minnesota. Can you suggest a list of plants that are native to this area. We are in zone 3a or 3b. Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Low growing native shrubs to go next to a rock pool deck
July 29, 2004 - I have a pool surrounded by a rock deck, & want to plant some low-growing shrubs next to the deck. However, I want to ensure the root system of the plant isn't invasive enough to crack the rock deck ...
view the full question and answer

Duplicate of English holly for Eufaula OK
January 03, 2010 - I wish to have a shrub that would duplicate the red berries and foliage of English holly. Tolerance of cultivation is also desired.
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance native plants for Arizona
March 12, 2009 - Will you please suggest some Native plants that can be left without care for the summer and survive - other than cactus?
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for privacy in wet area in Ohio
July 13, 2011 - I am looking for flowering shrubs for Ohio that reach 8-10 feet and can handle wet feet. I am trying to avoid building a wall for privacy and would like to use flowering shrubs instead.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center