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?

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
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
1 rating

Wednesday - April 28, 2010

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Native ground covers for rocky, shady slope in Arlington, TX
January 25, 2009 - I need a good native ground cover for a completely shaded and rocky 30 degree slope with red sandy soil and southern exposure. Will anything grow in these conditions?
view the full question and answer

Good evergreen screen and some shade plants for Plano Texas
November 03, 2010 - We live in Plano Texas. We have 15' between our house and our neighbor. We want to plant a divider/screen of something evergreen, about 6-15' (6-8' is better) and narrow, about 2-3' wide between t...
view the full question and answer

Screen and shade for pool in Michigan
July 18, 2010 - We recently moved to a new home that has a pool. There is no shade nor privacy. What types of trees, plants would you recommend for our small backyard?
view the full question and answer

Need mowable ground cover for shady area under trees in Lake Charles, LA.
July 12, 2010 - I live in Southwest Louisiana. I have a large portion of my back yard that is very shady because I have large trees in the yard. The area dries up fairly quickly after a heavy rain, so it isn't extre...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center