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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 18, 2010

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrub or tree for large pot in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a front-door entryway that faces east, what 3-4 foot shrub/tree would best survive in a large pot? Thanks!


First, read our How-To Article on Container Gardening with Native Plants. This may all be stuff you already know, but it never hurts to have a refresher course. Next, you did not say how much sun you got, which is more pertinent to plant selection than which way the area faces. In an east-facing location, you could expect morning sun, maybe about 3 to 4 hours, but not if there are large trees, an overhang or other structures on that same east side, cutting off the sunlight. However, it would also be shielded from the perhaps harsher western sun by the bulk of the house. We think the best choice would be a plant that can tolerate "part shade," which we consider to be 2 to 6 hours of sun a day. We have selected 4 shrubs that fall into your size specifications and will do well in part shade. We also chose some succulents, but avoided the agaves, which can be quite spectacular but also quite dangerous to have at a front entry. Follow the links to the page in our Native Plant Database on that particular plant to learn how large it gets, when it blooms and what care requirements it has.

Shrubs for a Container in Austin:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius (Berlandier's sundrops)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Pavonia lasiopetala (Texas swampmallow)

Succulents for a Container in Austin: 

Yucca rupicola (Texas yucca)

Manfreda sileri (Siler's tuberose)

Manfreda variegata (mottled tuberose)

Hesperaloe parviflora (redflower false yucca)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Callicarpa americana

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius

Leucophyllum frutescens

Pavonia lasiopetala

Yucca rupicola

Manfreda sileri

Manfreda variegata

Hesperaloe parviflora







More Shrubs Questions

Wax myrtle or cherry laurel in Austin?
November 15, 2009 - For a very shady area under a large old oak tree with oak toxic soil, would a Wax Myrtle or a Cherry Laurel (caroliniana) be better? Looking for an evergreen screening tree up to 20ft, but it only get...
view the full question and answer

Non-native eleagnus from Jesup GA
January 17, 2014 - An elderly farmer has told me about a plant called Alley Agnes, but I can't find any plant by this name anywhere. He doesn't know another name for it, says it's what everyone has always called it i...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for privacy in wet area in Ohio
July 13, 2011 - I am looking for flowering shrubs for Ohio that reach 8-10 feet and can handle wet feet. I am trying to avoid building a wall for privacy and would like to use flowering shrubs instead.
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Brooklyn, NY
January 25, 2013 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a fast growing ground cover for my Brooklyn, NY back yard. The area is nestled between 3 buildings and a fairly large tree, so most of the day its shady, but ...
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for Long Beach
May 12, 2013 - When Hurricane Sandy hit Long Beach, it has killed all my plants and now almost all of Long Beach is left with dead dried brown vegetation. I want to replant front with bushes and flowers. What woul...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center