En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - May 02, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native shade-loving container plant for Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What is a good plant that works well in a container, is shade-loving and produces some blooms?


Since you live in the same town as we do, we're sure you already know that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. If you would like a little extra help with native plants in containers, read our How-To Article Container Gardening with Native Plants. We will go to our Recommended Species section, click on Central Texas on the map, and then use the Narrow Your Search function to select on "herbs" (herbaceous blooming plants) for habit and "part shade" and "shade" for Light Requirements. We will not select anything under "Duration." You might choose perennials that will stay in the same pot over time, but will die back all or partially during the winter, or annuals that can be kept in the pot while they are blooming, and then replaced by something that blooms later. These plants are all commercially available; if you have difficulty locating them, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state into the Enter Search Location box, and you'll get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers, and landscape and environment consultants in your general area.

Herbaceous blooming plants for container gardening in Austin

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow) - evergreen, sprawling up to 3', thick mat up to 1 ft., blooms white, pink, purple March to June, sun or part shade

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower) - perennial to 3 ft. tall, blooms blue, purple July to November, sun, part shade

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - perennial, evergreen, to 2-1/2 ft. tall, blooms yellow April to June, sun, part shade or shade

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower) - perennial, 2 to 5 ft., blooms pink, purple April to September, sun or part shade

Ipomopsis rubra (standing-cypress) - biennial, to 6 ft. tall, blooms red, orange, yellow, May to July, sun or part shade

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - perennial, 1 to 6 ft. tall, blooms red, orange, yellow, May to July, sun or part shade

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia (tanseyleaf tansyaster) - annual, spreading, 6 to 12" tall, blooms purple May to October, sun or part shade

Melampodium leucanthum (plains blackfoot) - perennial, mounded 6 to 12" tall, blooms white, yellow March to November, sun or part shade

Phlox drummondii (annual phlox) - annual, 12 to 20" tall, blooms white, red, pink, purple March to June, sun or part shade

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) - annual/perennial, 1 to 3 ft. tall, blooms white, red, pink February to October, sun, part shade, or shade

Salvia engelmannii (Engelmann's sage) -perennial to 1-1/2 ft. tall, blooms blue, purple April and May, sun or part shade

Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage) - perennial to 2 ft. tall,blooms red March to August, part shade

Callirhoe involucrata

Conoclinium coelestinum

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Ipomopsis rubra

Lobelia cardinalis

Machaeranthera tanacetifolia

Melampodium leucanthum

Phlox drummondii

Salvia coccinea

Salvia engelmannii

Salvia roemeriana



More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native plants for dry shade in Virginia
May 23, 2008 - I live in Reston, Virginia and have dry shade. What are the best plants to use for my garden. Xeriscaping and native plants are important considerations.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a shady spot in Illinois
April 16, 2010 - I live in a new development in Huntley, IL. I am looking for native trees, shrubs, plants and/or flowers to plant on the North side of my house. Fairly shaded. Hopefully something attractive and co...
view the full question and answer

Grass to grow in the shade of pecan tree
December 10, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We have an enormous pecan tree in our backyard that had grass underneath the breadth of the branches, but not around the trunk. The grass isn't doing well (though we did fai...
view the full question and answer

Screen and shade for pool in Michigan
July 18, 2010 - We recently moved to a new home that has a pool. There is no shade nor privacy. What types of trees, plants would you recommend for our small backyard?
view the full question and answer

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

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center