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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.

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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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Wednesday - May 12, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for no sun in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I need recommendations for shrubs that can withstand no sun, something that possibly blooms but does not attract bees, wasps, or any stinging insects (hummingbirds or butterflies ok).

ANSWER:

Okay, are you asking us for shrubs that can grow in a closet? We define light requirements as "sun," 6 or more hours of sun a day, "part shade," 2 to 6 hours of sun, and "shade," less than 2 hours of sun. Is anything growing in the space under consideration now? Weeds, grass, anything at all? By a process called photosynthesis, plants use sun energy and the nutrients from the soil to manufacture food for the plant to survive and grow. So, we'll search for some shrubs native to Central Texas that can do all right in "shade." Getting blooms of any kind from that will be tough; all plants bloom better with more light. We also will suggest an ornamental grass that likes shade. You can follow the plant links to the webpage on each plant for size and care.

Plants for Shade in Austin:

Salvia regla (mountain sage) - 3 to 5 ft., deciduous, blooms red July to October, part shade or shade, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - 12 to 25 ft., evergreen, sun, part shade or shade, attracts birds and butterflies

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow) - 2 to 3 ft., blooms red May to November, part shade or shade, attracts birds, hummingbirds and butterflies

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - grass, 2 to 4 ft., part shade or shade

 

From the Image Gallery


Mountain sage
Salvia regla

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

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