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?


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
1 rating

Monday - September 08, 2008

From: pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Trees
Title: Ornamental plants for under live oaks
Answered by: Joe Marcus


What ornamental plant will do well under Live Oak trees?


Some of our favorite native ornamentals that thrive under live oaks are Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry), Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow), Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats), and Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine). Of course, which species you ultimately decide to use will largely depend on conditions specific to your site and your design needs and aesthetic. Most shade-loving plants native to Central Texas will work under live oaks. To find more species that will work for you use the Combination Search feature on the NPIN Plant Database.

Callicarpa americana

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Chasmanthium latifolium

Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for a Austin thicket underlayer
July 25, 2014 - We live in Austin, west of 183. We are planning to put a thicket in our backyard, where there is no threat of deer. Anchoring the thicket are a clump of live oaks, a Texas persimmon, an Eve's Necklac...
view the full question and answer

Non-blooming crape myrtle in Italy, TX
June 25, 2008 - It's Italy, TX, again! Thanks for the advice and links, and I'll study those..but here's where I'm stumped on crape myrtle. I have two (almost) trees because they've been planted over 15 years ...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-vascular moss as a lawn from Seattle WA
July 27, 2013 - I have lots of moss in my back yard. How can I encourage it to grow over the whole yard?
view the full question and answer

Why doesn't my Rusty blackhead bloom?
April 10, 2016 - I have planted Rusty blackhaws the past several years..some bloomed the first year and every year since....and others 3 years old have not bloomed yet... Do all Rusty blackhaws bloom eventually or ...
view the full question and answer

Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
December 10, 2012 - Half of my small yard is in the shade of one big live oak and one kumquat. Nothing I plant grows in this shade. The other half of my yard gets sunlight. It is planted with Jasmine grass which grows w...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center