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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 03, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native plants/shrubs to plant under sycamore and redbud trees
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I want to eventually get rid of our front lawn. We have a 40 year old sycamore tree and a young but well established redbud tree in the front yard. What are some good plants/shrubs to plant under the sycamore tree and the redbud tree? I'm interested mainly in low-maintenance and native plants/shrubs. The only watering we tend to do is standard tree watering 2hrs monthly for the health of the trees. The only other water that ends up on our landscape is leftover vegetable cleaning water. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

First of all, you need plants that use very little water and, since these plants will be growing under the sycamore and redbud, you need plants that will tolerate growing in the shade or part shade.  Here are some suggestions:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle)

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Phacelia congesta (caterpillars)

Carex perdentata (sand sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Although these plants require very little water once established, they will need some regular watering until they are well established.  You can see more possibilities in "Plants for Dry Shade in Central Texas" under Special Collections in the Just for Central Texans category.


Callicarpa americana

Nolina texana

Mahonia trifoliolata

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Salvia coccinea

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Phacelia congesta

Carex perdentata

Carex texensis

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Monocarpic plants for Indiana
October 06, 2005 - We were in Hawaii this summer and became acquainted with the Silversword. This plant (according to what we were told) blooms only once in it's lifetime (of 50-70 years). Are you aware of any other pl...
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Cenizo as a Foundation Plant in Austin
December 09, 2010 - We live next to the wildflower center. We would like to plant "Leucophyllum frutescens". We are hoping to use this as a foundation plant. Will it survive if planted in Dec. Please offer any tips ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native daylilies and pachysandra in same area from New York City
April 07, 2012 - Will daylilies and pachysandra thrive if planted in the same bed, or will they harm each other?
view the full question and answer

Waxy deposits on Magnolia fuscata from Ethel LA
June 18, 2013 - I have a 4yr old Magnolia Fascata (aka banana shrub)- I noticed that it has small oval shaped yellow waxy deposits on the branches.. I have also noticed small black ants on the branches. The unknown d...
view the full question and answer

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