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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - November 29, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Prairie wattle for woodland area in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Can prairie wattle be grown in a woodland area? It would get part shade, with full sun for at least half a day. The soil is a bit rocky; location is Austin.


There are two plants in our Native Plant Database with one of its common names being "prairie wattle." The first is Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia). This is a 1 to 3 foot tall ground cover type plant, blooms white June to September, has low water use and grows in sun (6 hours or more of sun a day) to part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day). "Soil Description: Sandy, Limestone-based, Calcareous; Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay; Well-drained"

The second member of the Legume, or pea, family in this genus is Acacia angustissima var. texensis (prairie wattle), which is a taller, more tree-like plant. This plant grows from 6 to 12 ft. tall, has low water use and can grow in sun, part shade or shade (less than 2 hours of sun a day). Conditions comments: "Will do well in dry soil on a north or east exposure, but will need water in the summer on a south or west exposure."

These plants are both thornless, and will die to the ground after the first hard freeze, returning in the Spring. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Acacia angustissima

Acacia angustissima var. texensis



More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcover for shade in Duval County, Florida
September 17, 2014 - What low growing ground cover would be good for a lake edge area. This area is shaded with overlying woodland type trees. I planted some autumn ferns but they have getting overrun with poison ivy. I a...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant groundcover for New Braunfels, TX
September 24, 2011 - Could you recommend some deer resistant ground cover plants for the New Braunfels area? We have tried Ajuga and Katie's Ruellia and they have been eaten.
view the full question and answer

Need to plant something in the cracks in my patio in Skipperville, AL.
February 06, 2012 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I have a cement patio full of cracks. I would like to grow some sort of plant or plants in the cracks. I live in lower Alabama, and my patio is in full sunlight. Do you have an...
view the full question and answer

Parthenocissus quinquefolia as replacement for Asiatic jasmine
June 14, 2007 - The deer have stripped the Asiatic jasmine groundcover under my clusters of live oak trees in Southwest Austin. This year the bare areas of ground are covered in Virginia creeper seedlings. I have b...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Shade in Spicewood
September 16, 2015 - We live in Spicewood area in Austin, TX. Our front yard is yellow almost all summer, I was thinking of replacing lawn with a ground cover which can live on once a week sprinkler and no mowing. Also th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center