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
5 ratings

Tuesday - June 03, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Tree and vine for shade and privacy
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We recently added a deck in our backyard which faces west, we live in Circle C (southwest Austin). The afternoon sun is intense so we're looking to plant something along our fence line to provide shade and privacy. We want something quick growing that will grow tall (20 or so feet) but not wide, since we don't want it to take up valuable yard space, maybe a tree? Also, can you recommend a flowering vine that can grow from the ground and climb to cover our brick patio columns. I'd love something fragrant, but nothing poisonous or that would attract bees.

ANSWER:

Here are tree species that have rapid to moderate growth rates. I have suggested some trees that can grow very tall (the oaks) and have a large spread. However, by the time they have the large spread their foliage will be high enough above the ground to not interfere with yard space and they will provide a great deal of shade.

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) evergreen and moderately fast growing, 15 to 20 feet

Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple) moderate growth and beautiful fall foliage, 15 to 40 feet

Fraxinus albicans (Texas ash) rapid growth and beautiful fall foliage, 30-45 feet

You might consider one of the oak species that isn't susceptible to oak wilt, such as:

Quercus polymorpha (netleaf white oak) rapid growth, 40 to 80 feet

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak) rapid growth, 40 to 100 feet

Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak) moderate growth, 40-60 feet

Here are recommendations for three evergreen vines. I can't guarantee that there won't be any bees attracted to their flowers since bees are attracted to nectar sources. However, I can almost certainly guarantee that hummingbirds and butterflies will be attracted especially to the crossvine and honesuckle.

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine), somewhat fragrant

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle), not particularly fragrant

Gelsemium sempervirens (evening trumpetflower), very fragrant


Prunus caroliniana

Acer grandidentatum

Fraxinus albicans

Quercus polymorpha

Quercus macrocarpa

Quercus muehlenbergii

Bignonia capreolata

Bignonia capreolata

Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

Gelsemium sempervirens

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Trees for shade east windows from sun in Abilene, TX
October 25, 2008 - We need a tree(s) to plant in front of four east windows (20 feet space) to shade our breakfast room from the early morning sun. We have shades but need a bit more protection. I do not wish to shade...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover in San Antonio
May 18, 2008 - I would like to find plants, spreading ground or flowers, to go under my red tips. These plants would be in a lot shade and not a great deal of water.
view the full question and answer

Ornamental shade grasses for Dover AR
April 16, 2011 - Ornamental shade grasses for sandy soil or silt, part shade, or even vines.
view the full question and answer

Habiturf lawn in Carson City, NV
October 15, 2013 - I planted habiturf just south of Reno NV May 5. First two months no or little germination because nite temps too cold. Now doing ok except battling purslane and redstem filaree.. SO, I notice bare/spa...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to shade on a west-facing wall in Houston, TX
April 28, 2010 - What plants are best to provide shade on a west facing wall in Houston. I am looking for plants that help to cool the house.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center