Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 - September 18, 2008

From: Denton, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Hanging flowering plants in part shade in Denton, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'd like to hang 4"-6" pots with flowering plants from north-facing eaves. That area gets an hour or so of late-morning/noon sun. Also, my apt. faces a large courtyard so the area is never in deep shade and I live in Denton, HOT summers, TX

ANSWER:

For openers, 4" to 6" pots are a little small for a flowering plant. You are most likely going to want something bigger so enough soil to accommodate roots and hold moisture can be used. The second problem is that one hour of sun is not going to be adequate for many flowering plants. If you go to our section on Recommended Species, select North Central Texas, and Narrow Your Search with "herb" under Habit, and less than 2 hours a day under Light Requirements, you get three suggestions:

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine) - upright, 1 to 2 ft. tall

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - 1 to 6 ft. tall

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan) - 1 to 2 ft. tall, biennial, flowers the second year

So, we went hunting for other plants native to Texas that might work in such a space, but not necessarily flowering. We found these ferns that would hang gracefully over the edge of a hanging pot, but would definitely need more than a 6" diameter pot to flourish:

Adiantum capillus-veneris (common maidenhair) - 6" to 1 ft. high

Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern) - few inches to more than 3 ft.

Phegopteris hexagonoptera (broad beechfern) - 1 to 2 ft. long

And, finally, a couple of dark horses:

Dichondra argentea (silver ponysfoot) - really a ground cover, and does better with more sun, but could do well in a hanging basket

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox) - a mat-forming perennial, 6 to 10" tall, semi-evergreen foliage and lavender, blue or white flowers

It would seem you need to rethink your plans for that area. There are some native vines that can get along with low sun, but they certainly will not remain confined to a small pot. Under eaves and north-facing are factors that combine to shade a plant from the sunshine necessary. 


Aquilegia canadensis

Lobelia cardinalis

Rudbeckia hirta

Adiantum capillus-veneris

Onoclea sensibilis

Phegopteris hexagonoptera

Dichondra argentea

Phlox stolonifera

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

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 plants for north facing shaded bed in Austin
April 02, 2007 - I have a northfacing house in central Austin. I dug a large bed along the front that gets almost full shade. What native plants will thrive in that space?
view the full question and answer

Is Phyla lanceolata (frogfruit) poisonous to dogs fromTitusville FL?
June 01, 2014 - Is Phyla lanceolata, also called Fogfruit, Lanceleaf Fogfruit, or Northern Fogfruit, toxic to dogs? We have it growing amongst our grass. I can't find it on any toxic plant list.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for small pots in sun in Austin
January 24, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! We are renting our house, so while we have a yard, the landlord would prefer us to only add plants to his landscaping in pots. I have filled some large ones, but have been una...
view the full question and answer

Native alterrnatives for Bermuda grass in shade
July 30, 2007 - I have Bermuda Tif 419 on my lawn. As expected, there are small areas in the shade that the Bermuda is not doing well in. What would happen if I spread Zoysia seed in those shady areas? Would it gro...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.