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?


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
7 ratings

Friday - March 27, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shrub for shade in Austin, Texas.
Answered by: Damon Waitt


Live in Austin, Texas and need to plant a shrub or plant that will grow well in little to no sun. Can grow 4 feet in height


There are a number of small, native, shade tolerant shrubs that would do well in Austin, Texas. A search of the Recommended Species list for Central Texas for shade tolerant shrubs yielded 20 results. Of those results, Mr. Smarty Plants is partial to Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry), and Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow) but you might also try the lesser known Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)Mimosa borealis (fragrant mimosa) or even Erythrina herbacea (redcardinal).

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Callicarpa americana

Pavonia lasiopetala

Amorpha fruticosa

Mimosa borealis

Erythrina herbacea




More Shade Tolerant Questions

Why doesn't my Rusty blackhead bloom?
April 10, 2016 - I have planted Rusty blackhaws the past several years..some bloomed the first year and every year since....and others 3 years old have not bloomed yet... Do all Rusty blackhaws bloom eventually or ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
view the full question and answer

Variety of native tall plants for a screen in shady area near Ft. Worth
June 12, 2007 - Hello, we live west of Ft Worth. We are looking for tall plants to form a visual screen along a chain link fence we share with a neighbor. We have post oaks there and it is very shady and the ground ...
view the full question and answer

What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a shrub to provide shade to the west side of a home in Ft. Worth, TX
February 07, 2011 - We are on a corner lot and are looking for a tall tree or shrub to block the west side of our house. There is only a 5 foot area space between the sidewalk and side driveway where we want to plant th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center