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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - March 29, 2010

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Natives for a raised, part-shade bed in Pearland TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a couple of raised beds that I want to plant a few shrubs (3 feet tall), perennials, and annuals. I want all the plants to be native to Texas. The only problem is that I am not plant knowledgeable and need help with determining what to plant. The beds get partial shade. Any ideas or suggestions of plants that are easy to find would be great.

ANSWER:

Why don't you begin with our How-To Article on  A Guide to Native Plant Gardening. Then we invite you to learn to use our Native Plant Database to become plant knowledgeable, and understand what is available. The specification for shrubs 3 ft. tall may be a little difficult, as most natives will grow taller than that.  Some can be pruned and some may have some dwarf cultivars or selections. Because Pearland is in USDA Hardiness Zone 9a, you will have a variety of native sub-tropicals available to widen your selection. 

To begin, we will go to our Recommended Species section, click on South Texas on the map, and then Narrow Your Search by selecting, first, "herbs: (herbaceous blooming plants), under Habit or General Appearance, then "annual" under Lifespan, and "part shade" under Light Requirements. We will repeat this search with"perennial" under LIfespan, and, finally, "shrub," with "all durations." We will select some examples of each category with your qualifications, and you can repeat our search technique with other parameters and/or make your own selections. These plants should all be commercially available; if you have difficulty locating them, go to our National Suppliers Directory, type in your city and state in the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native seed companies, plant nurseries and landscape consultants in your general area. All have contact information, and you can get in touch with them in advance to find out if they have the plants you are looking for, or can order them. They also should be able to tell you if there are dwarf cultivars that will stay under your 3-ft. limit. 

If you are planning to seed annuals in your garden, they should not be planted until next Fall. Sometimes you can buy bedding plants of annuals and get bloom on them this year, but seeds should be planted when they would ordinarily drop from the plants, which is usually Fall in Texas. By the same token, perennials will not bloom until the second year, although, again, you could obtain bedding plants to give you some color this year. For shrubs, you need to either get them in the ground right away, before the heat starts to rise, or wait until Fall. Plants, especially woody plants like shrubs and trees, should not be planted in the hot part of the year; they can suffer from transplant shock which could retard their development or kill them.

Follow each plant link to the webpage on that individual plant in our Native Plant Database to learn more about it, including Propagation Instructions, color and time of year of blooms, and Benefits.

Annuals for Pearland, TX:

Centaurea americana (American star-thistle)

Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Salvia coccinea (blood sage)

Perrenials for Pearland, TX: 

Callirhoe involucrata (purple poppymallow)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Hibiscus martianus (heartleaf rosemallow)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Shrubs for Pearland, TX: 

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Erythrina herbacea (redcardinal)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow)

From our Image Gallery:


Centaurea americana

Chamaecrista fasciculata

Gaillardia pulchella

Salvia coccinea

Callirhoe involucrata

Conoclinium coelestinum

Hibiscus martianus

Monarda fistulosa

Callicarpa americana

Erythrina herbacea

Leucophyllum frutescens

Pavonia lasiopetala

 

 

 

 

 

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