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

Green roof plants tolerating shade
July 01, 2006 - I am researching extensive greenroof plants for a potential site in Austin. The roof surface is shaded for most days of the the year. Are there any top choices for plants for this condition?
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade, poor soil in Park Ridge NJ
June 17, 2010 - Hello! I live in far northeast New Jersey, by the New York state border. I am looking for plants for areas of my lawn that nothing currently grows in - due to shade and poor soil quality - very rocky,...
view the full question and answer

How to protect Columbine plants from Texas sun
May 12, 2015 - I planted some Red columbine seeds in October of last year and they are now doing well, roughly 6-inches tall. I believed I was planting them in mostly shade at the time; that area now seems to get 6+...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant privacy fence for shade in Hill Country
April 28, 2009 - I am looking for a shrub to plant along a privacy fence that gets 8+ feet tall, fast growing, preferably native, deer resistant, and can tolerate mostly shade. I reside in the Hill Country area. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade
August 19, 2008 - I live in hot, humid Houston and the tree coverage of my yard is nearly 100 percent (so, little sunlight reaches the ground). Can you suggest a plant or two that would thrive in these conditions?
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