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
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

Propagation of wax myrtle from Lafayette LA
December 10, 2012 - Hello, I have a good portion of Wax Myrtle Seeds. How do I get them Started for planting? Have been told to put several seeds in a Jar lid in a very damp paper-towel & leave them there till they ...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and small trees for a slope in NY
May 21, 2012 - We are looking for a living wall made of shrubs / small trees - no more than 25' for the top of a steep creek bed. We are looking for the best erosion preventing types.
view the full question and answer

Making cuttings from purple sage in Austin, TX.
May 15, 2012 - I would like to plant additional purple sage for landscaping. May I do this with cuttings from an existing adult plant? If so, how and when would be the best method? I live in Lago Vista, TX
view the full question and answer

Death of non-native eleaegnus from Austin
March 30, 2013 - We have a long hedge of elaeagnus, about 5 ft tall. Four of them died in the middle of the hedge. Where can we find such big plants? Is it advisable to unroot and transplant from another area?
view the full question and answer

Which plants are resistant to dog urine in Ashmore, IL??
May 21, 2012 - Which native plants are resistant to dogs urinating on them?
view the full question and answer

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