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Wednesday - April 28, 2010

Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Need plants to shade on a west-facing wall in Houston, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


What plants are best to provide shade on a west facing wall in Houston. I am looking for plants that help to cool the house.


There are at least three ways that you might accomplish this; each with its advantages and disadvantages. You might want to consider shade trees, shrubs, or deciduous vines to shade your west facing wall.

Trees are very good shade producers, but it can take a long time before they reach maturity. I am going to refer you to the Texas Tree Planting Guide. If you use the Custom Tree Selector, you can find suggestions for trees that will fit your situation.

Our next option would be shrubs which will also take a while before they can offer much shade, but they have the advantage of producing flowers to brighten the landscape.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Deciduous vines have the advantage of growing fairly rapidly and having flowers. The disadvantage is that you would need to provide some sort of trellis structure for support.

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria)

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine)

I came up with these plant names by going to the Recommended Species page and clicking East Texas on the map. In the Narrow your Search window, select Texas under STATE, shrubs (or vine) under GENERAL APPEARANCE, and perennial under LIFESPAN. Check Sun under LIGHT REQUIREMENT, and moist (or dry) under SOIL MOISTURE. Click the "Narrow Your Search" button, and you will get a list of commercially available plants that match these criteria. Clicking on the name of each plant will pull up its NPIN page with a descriptionof the plant along with its growth requirements and pictures. You can do this search to find other possibilities.

Ilex vomitoria

Lindera benzoin

Rhus virens

Morella cerifera

Lonicera sempervirens

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Wisteria frutescens

Bignonia capreolata



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