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
3 ratings

Wednesday - March 11, 2009

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Small shrub to plant in Austin Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi.. I live in Southwest Austin and I am looking for a shrub that I can plant against the back of my house, which faces the north. I want something native, fairly low maintenance and not too large, as I would like them to be under the windows. I have several oaks in my backyard I get part-shade/part-sun. Thanks, Cindi

ANSWER:

Here are some recommendations for low-growing shrubs that are suited to the Austin climate and soils:

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is evergreen and you can find dwarf cultivars that would not grow too tall.

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius (Berlandier's sundrops) has lovely yellow blossoms.  It will die down in the winter and come back from the base in the spring.

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita) is low-growing (1-2 feet) and evergreen.

Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) grows 3 to 6 feet, but can be pruned to size.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle) grows to around 3 feet and can be pruned to size.

Dalea frutescens (black prairie clover) grows up to 3 feet high.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) is evergreen and there are dwarf cultivars that reach about 3 feet.

Here are two possibilities that aren't really shrubs, but both are evergreen and normally grow less than 3 feet tall.

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto)


Morella cerifera

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius

Chrysactinia mexicana

Lantana urticoides

 

 


Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Dalea frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens

Nolina texana

Sabal minor
 

More Shrubs Questions

Shallow topsoil on rocky substrate in SW Oregon
April 28, 2009 - I want to plants some shrubs and trees. Trouble is I can't plant very deep. I have mostly rock within 5 inches. Please help.
view the full question and answer

Yellowing of leaves in Texas Mountain Laurel from Austin
June 25, 2012 - I planted a Texas Mountain Laurel in my Austin, TX yard this January. The tree was good sized (about 5 feet tall) when I planted it. Recently the leaves of the tree have started to turn yellow alon...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a lakeside bank in NC
November 07, 2011 - Our association is looking to plant a huge sloped area that runs down to Lake Wylie. We want to plant something that is good for erosion and that does not grow too tall so that we keep our view of th...
view the full question and answer

Can Monterrey Oak be topped into a bush from Austin TX
June 16, 2013 - I received a suggestion to use Monterey oak as privacy hedge by topping the small tree and letting it bush. I can't find any pictures or info on this being done though.
view the full question and answer

Shelf life of hawthorn leaves in Florissant, MO
April 30, 2009 - I have a bag of hawthorn leaves that were harvested in 2007. Do you know if they're still effective? How long is the shelf life of hawthorn leaves? Thank you for your assistance.
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