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?

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

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
1 rating

Thursday - April 29, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Privacy shrub in part shade to shade in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Barbara Medford's July 1, 2008 reply regarding Little Emperor Japanese Blueberry Tree is exactly my experience with cherry laurel in partial sun/shaded area in Austin, Texas. For 6 - 8' height sight blocking hedge, what variety would you suggest for Austin?

ANSWER:

For those interested, here is the  Previous answer. Shrubs for the Austin area that need part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) and shade (less than 2 hours a day of sun) are going to find slim pickings. We live in an area with a lot of sun, and the plants native to this area are used to that. We assume you also want evergreen, for privacy year round. For Central Texas, there are 5 shrubs or small trees that fit those requirements. With the exception of Ilex vomitoria (yaupon), however, all require sun or part shade. We would think anything less than 4 hours of good sun would cause the  shrubs to languish. Even though it will mean not very thick coverage for a few years, about 5 ft. from trunk to trunk of any of these when they are planted would be the minimum.  Shrubs will often grow to nearly their height in circumference; that is, a 6 ft. tall shrub will spread out about 3 feet on each side, total of 6 feet. If their trunks are 5 ft. apart, their outer branches will mingle with each other with minimal pruning. Follow each link to the page on that plant to determine how tall it gets, what width it should be and what light exposure it requires.

Evergreen Shrubs for Part Shade in Central Texas:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - sun,part shade or shade

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - sun or part shade, but will bloom better with higher percentage of sun

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - 3 to 6 ft. tall, sun or part shade

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) - sun or part shade

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) - 10 to 15 ft. tall, sun or part shade.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Rhus virens

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native grass for sandy soil and shade
May 27, 2011 - We have a sandy soil and lots of shade. Is there a native grass that would do well under these conditions?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for partial shade in Pennsylvania
April 04, 2008 - Much of my growing area in Northern exposure, shade-partial shade once trees get leaves. I'm looking for native plants to use for screens and for ground-covers, grasses and edible plants.
view the full question and answer

Carex as a shady turf alternative in Austin
November 10, 2009 - I just read your answer to Barbara Medford's question about what multi-species native grasses would work to create a shady lawn. While you had some wonderful suggestions you mention a homeowner's as...
view the full question and answer

Growing mosses in the Pacific Northwest
February 05, 2015 - Can you provide information on types of Mosses as well as Microferns in the Northwest Mountain region near Seattle? I assume that Mosses and Microferns are more resilient to foot traffic (i.e.Cush...
view the full question and answer

What will grow under neighbor's overhanging tree in Grosse Pointe Woods MI
May 29, 2011 - My next door neighbor has a beautiful tree that is easily 60 years old and thus not going anywhere. Unfortunately, for me the roots of this tree have extended under a large corner of my back yard. Add...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center