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?

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

Monday - September 22, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens
Title: Understory plants for creek side in Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live along Shoal Creek in central Austin and would like to establish a natural balance of vegetation along the creek. We currently have a high tree canopy made up of native Cedar Elms. What would you recommend for native understory plants (shrubs, trees and grasses) that would thrive in the dapple shade and clay creek soils? Bird attracting species would be a bonus! Thanks! Chris

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends the following plants that will grow in part shade (2-6 hours of sun per day), in clay soil, and have various benefits for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.

GRASS/GRASS-LIKE

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

SHRUBS/SMALL TREES

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Senna lindheimeriana (velvet leaf senna)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

You can find more possibilities in a list of recommended native species for Central Texas that are commercially available by clicking on that area on the map on our Recommended Species page.


Chasmanthium latifolium

Schizachyrium scoparium

Panicum virgatum

Nolina texana

Ilex vomitoria

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Rhus aromatica

Rhus glabra

Rhus virens

Senna lindheimeriana

Sophora secundiflora

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

 

 

More Wildlife Gardens Questions

Will hybrid Tecoma stans attract hummingbirds from Glendale AZ
July 07, 2012 - We bought a bells of fire plant; would like to know if hummingbirds like them?
view the full question and answer

Native plants to attract butterflies
October 18, 2007 - I'm a Texas A&M Wildlife and Ecology student working with a landowner in Bastrop County, Texas. As part of their Habitat Management Plan, they are hoping to enhance butterfly habitat on their proper...
view the full question and answer

Plants beneficial to honey bees in Indiana
August 30, 2014 - I am searching for a list of shrubs, vines, low growing plants that would benefit, specifically honeybees in southeast Indiana. My Soil & Water Conservation District would like to offer these plants f...
view the full question and answer

Bee Plants for Victoria Texas
March 09, 2013 - I live in Victoria south Texas and want to plant bee beneficial native wildflowers, could you provide advice or contact
view the full question and answer

Wildlife habitat in Gambia
April 06, 2005 - Thank you for the interesting website. We bought a plot in the Gambia and would like to change it into a habitat for different living species; hence, your kindly advise is welcome as we are definitel...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center