Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Tuesday - March 15, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Container plants for shade in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I reside in 78739. Just moving here from So Cal (where all plants are perennials), I'm looking to create a good "Shade loving" Container for near my front door. I'm looking at 'Summer Wave' Wishbone flower, but not sure if it can take the heat. What are some good flowering plants for a Full Shade container? Any good green foliage (perennial) that could be planted with it?

ANSWER:

Welcome to Austin. First, we need to tell you that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. Translation: this is Central Texas and the plants we will recommend will all be native to Central Texas. If you would like to get an introduction to Central Texas gardening at our Spring Plant Sale, follow this link for days and times, as well as plant lists.

Next, we should give you a little light reading on why we recommend native plants and native plant container gardening. From our How-To-Articles read Using Native Plants, A Guide to Native Plant Gardening, and Container Gardening with Native Plants. Next, we'll teach you how to use our Native Plant Database to select the right plants for anywhere in your garden.

Go to our Recommended Species page, click on Central Texas on the map, which will take you to a list of plants recommended as appropriate to this area. On the right side, there is a sidebar on which you can check for General Appearance (tree, shrub, etc.),we chose "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant). We also checked for "shade" (2 hours or less sun per day) under Light Requirements. Follow each plant link to our page on that plant and learn what its growing conditions, light and moisture requirements and projected size are.

Shade-tolerant herbaceous blooming plants for a container in Austin:

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

There are some ferns that are native to this area that are evergreen, could withstand that much shade and be a backup for the blooming planter.

Adiantum capillus-veneris (Southern maidenhair fern)

Dryopteris ludoviciana (Southern woodfern)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Rudbeckia hirta


Lobelia cardinalis


Salvia coccinea


Coreopsis lanceolata


Aquilegia canadensis


Adiantum capillus-veneris


Dryopteris ludoviciana


Polystichum acrostichoides

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Non-Poisonous, Shade Tolerant Vine for Austin
February 01, 2011 - Hello, I live in northwest Austin and have a very shady wood fence I would like to cover and was thinking about a vine. I have a toddler and a dog so anything poisonous is out of the question. I woul...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Shrub for Houston, TX
April 24, 2014 - I live in Houston, Texas and would like to plant a flowering shrub 3-6 feet in height. It will get sun to part sun, 2-6 hours daily. I have had azaleas in this area and am now looking for something to...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub for East Texas
October 31, 2012 - I am looking for a small to medium evergreen shrub (native to east Texas) for a location that receives some sun in the morning but mostly shade. Something that blooms & attracts butterflys & hummingbi...
view the full question and answer

What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
view the full question and answer

Understory shrub for shady area in San Antonio
December 03, 2008 - We would like to plant a small understory tree/shrub in an odd space that our new deck has created between our fence line and the house. A mature mountain laurel would be our dream but I think there ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.