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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 19, 2010

From: North Richland Hills, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shrubs, groundcovers, and grasses for shade in North Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Updated (2009-10) information about shrubs / ground cover /grasses recommended for North Central Texas - Complete back yard re-landscaping under a lot of trees, shady areas, regular bermuda, St Augustine won't grow.


Mr. Smarty Plants is not sure what you mean by 'updated' unless you are referring to the answers to questions from June 2008 and June 2009.  If this is the case, the recommendations in the answers to those questions still stand, but here is an expanded list that was chosen from recommendations in the Wasowski's Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region as well as the Texas-North Central Recommended list from our Recommended Species page.  Note: sun = more than 6 hours of sun per day; part shade = 2 to 6 hours ofsun per day; shade = less than 2 hours of sun per day


Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo) grows in sun and part shade

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) grows in part shade

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac) grows in sun, part shade and shade

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto) grows in sun, part shade and shade

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry) grows in part shade and shade


Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort) grows in part shade and shade

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) grows in sun, part shade and shade 

Geum canadense (white avens) grows in part shade and shade 

Rivina humilis (rougeplant) grows in part shade

Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) grows in sun, part shade and shade

Packera obovata (roundleaf ragwort) grows in part shade and shade

Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet) grows in part shade and shade


Carex planostachys (cedar sedge) grows part shade

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) grows in sun and part shade

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) grows in part shade and shade

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye) grows in sun and part shade

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) grows in sun and part shade

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) grows in sun, part shade and shade

You can see more possibilities by selecting North Central Texas from the map or pull-down menu from our Recommended Species page.

Here are photos of some of the selected species above from our Image Gallery:

Amorpha fruticosa

Callicarpa americana

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Rhus aromatica

Calyptocarpus vialis

Geum canadense

Rivina humilis

Packera obovata

Carex planostachys

Chasmanthium latifolium

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans




More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for erosion of shaded slope in Bethesda MD
April 07, 2010 - I have an eastern facing heavily shaded slope in Bethesda, Md. that needs a few good native plants to keep it from eroding. Ferns are not doing well on it. They do much better in the flats. So, anythi...
view the full question and answer

Salt-tolerant groundcover for shade with no water supply
September 11, 2013 - We have a home in Neptune Beach (Jacksonville) Florida (NE Florida). We have a large area outside our ground floor master bedroom that is completely covered (there is a large solid deck above it). ...
view the full question and answer

Shade-loving Grass for the Houston area
February 09, 2011 - I have an ash tree that completely shades the majority of our front yard and is not allowing the St. Augustine grass to grow. Is there a shade-loving grass good for the Houston area?
view the full question and answer

Hedge shrub for shade in Jacksonville FL
January 17, 2013 - Looking for shrub or hedge ( no Azaleas please )to line front of house that is full time shade in Jacksonville Florida ( something different, on the lines of tropical if possible).
view the full question and answer

Need plants for shade in Arizona.
May 15, 2009 - Please suggest plants that I can plant in a shaded area. I live in Glendale, Arizona. The shade will be 100% of the time.
view the full question and answer

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