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
2 ratings

Friday - April 03, 2009

From: Bandera, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Deer resistant shade plants for Southern Texas
Answered by: Jackie OKeefe

QUESTION:

Looking for low shrubs and flowers that will grow in full shade and that would be mostly deer resistant. North facing front of our house.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center works exclusively with native plants, so our answer will deal with native plant solutions. Full shade and deer in combination limit plant choices. Deer never seem to read our opinions about what they don't eat and most flowering plants flower less as the intensity of shade increases. To counter those limits, consider putting plants that are deer candy within a perimeter of deer-resistant plants. Some plants, once well-established, can withstand deer browsing, if you can tolerate them... On the shade issue, the degree of shade your site experiences may or may not be so limiting. High, airy tree canopies permit more light to enter, while high walls, heavy foliage and shade from multiple angles are hard to counter. Here are some suggestions for your space. All are shade tolerant and are somewhat to quite deer resistant.

Our first four suggestions are perennial flowering plants and the fifth is a re-seeding annual, sometimes perennial. The native ruellia is not to be mistaken with Ruellia brittoniana, which is a common non-native which in some areas is classed "invasive".

Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Ruellia drummondiana (Drummond's wild petunia) spreads prolifically by root and seed...

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

 

The following three suggestions are shrubs. Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow), Turk's Cap, can grow leggy, but pruning keeps it bushier and it will bloom fairly readily in shady settings. Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac) and Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) both grow to around six feet and may be larger than you want. The Dwarf Palmetto is very slow-growing, but long-lived and evergreen.

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto)

 

These last two prefer more moist settings than the previous suggestions:

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

 

More suggestions may be found by going to Explore Plants and selecting Recommended Species, where you will find a list of Deer Resistant Species. You can then narrow your search to Texas and restrict for your size, shade and soil moisture conditions.

 


Solidago nemoralis

Rudbeckia hirta

Aquilegia canadensis


Ruellia drummondiana

 


Salvia coccinea

Rhus aromatica

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Sabal minor

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Lobelia cardinalis

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Groundcover for foot traffic in dry shade from Prineville OR
May 12, 2013 - I live in central Oregon. I have an area under a large elm tree that slopes on all sides and has lots of foot traffic and no sun. (my kids have a swing in the tree and play around it a lot.) It's a v...
view the full question and answer

Decorative Trees for Scenic Bench in Fairhope IL
June 10, 2012 - I am looking for a recommendation for a pair of small trees (does not grow taller than 18-20 feet) that can provide shade on either side of a stone bench. The site is in full sun, western exposure an...
view the full question and answer

Replacing mature Arizona Ash trees in Austin
August 26, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have 2 very large, very old Arizona Ash trees in my yard. I want to remove them and replace them with something like Cedar Elm or Chinquapin Oak. The problem is that they are t...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a Shaded Patio Container in Missouri
April 17, 2015 - What kind of native plants would grow well in a pot on a fully shaded patio? I live in Kansas City, Missouri. The patio faces north and doesn't get any direct sunlight, but it gets lots of indirect...
view the full question and answer

Plants for dry shade in West Virginia
April 22, 2010 - I live in Mannington, WV and I am wanting to do some landscaping. The area that I would like to plant in is very dry and gets little to no sunlight. I would like to plant something that will come back...
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