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
1 rating

Wednesday - February 23, 2011

From: austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Need evergreen, drought tolerant shrubs to plant next to driveway along property line in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


Just moved to Austin, TX. What evergreen, drought tolerant shrubs could I plant by driveway, full sun, next to neighbors lawn. I don't want to mow, space is 3.5 ft. wide by 15ft. long. I thought about Elaeagnus or dwarf wax myrtles to flow natural keeping them trimmed to 2-3ft. high?? 2. Can I plant buffalo grass in the same yard as a thin St. Augustine? Both ends of the yard are barren right now and I would prefer the buffalo to overcome. Thank you in advance.


Mr. Smarty Plants is thinking that a 3.5' x 15' swatch of grass doesn't seem like too much to mow, but I digress.

The genus Elaeagnus has several species that are variously called, Russian Olive, Silver Berry, and Autumn Olive. The species that is native, Elaeagnus commutata (Silverberry) , is a rounded shrub that can range from one to twelve feet tall, and has suckers that can form patches several yards in diameter. Two other species that are non native are commonly used as ornamentals and in windbreaks; Elaeagnus angustifolia and Elaeagnus umbellata.  All of these could possibly overwhelm the space that you have.

If you decide to use dwarf cultivars of wax myrtle Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle), here are a couple of choices.

'Dons Dwarf'  plus (more info)

Dwarf Wax Myrtle

Another shrub that you might consider is Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon). Here are three dwarf cultivars that are available.


'Schilling's Dwarf'

'Stokes Dwarf'

Checking our National Suppliers Directory can help you find nurseries that sell these plants.

For the Buffalo Grass Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) part of your question, I'm going to refer you to two of our How to Articles. One describes establishing a Native Lawn lawn of Buffalo Grass, and the other tells about a Multi-species Native Lawn.

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides






More Shrubs Questions

Shrub that will grow outside in Zone 5 from Millbrook NY
April 21, 2012 - Is there any shrub, tree or other sort of plant that will grow well in zone 5 in a very large container outdoors?
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

Natural barrier for sheep in England
July 26, 2008 - Hi I am trying to find a plant that sheep will not eat to use as a natural barrier to keep sheep out of my R/C model flying clubs flying field.It will have to be a couple of feet tall and be a long li...
view the full question and answer

Will desert rose (Rosa stellata) survive in south Florida
July 30, 2008 - I have a mature desert rose and I wanted to plant it in the ground. I live in southwest Florida.I want to know will it survive and should I wait to plant it next year?
view the full question and answer

Shade Trees for Flagstaff AZ
June 14, 2015 - I live in Flagstaff, AZ and in need of good shade trees all around the house. We live in the Doney Park area (east of Flagstaff) and it is very windy in the spring time. We need the trees for priva...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center