Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 - 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:

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
May 05, 2009 - We live on a lake with gravelly and clay soils, lots of wind and little sun. I am looking for a native ground cover that will help reduce erosion over some of the steep slopes facing south (under shad...
view the full question and answer

Central Texas plants for dry partial shade
April 17, 2007 - I live in Austin Texas. My front garden area has rocky dry soil with intermittent sunlight and shade, maybe 2 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. Herbs do great. What perennial flowers (for some color) w...
view the full question and answer

Native moss to fill in between flagstones
April 21, 2008 - I live in Houston and have a long, narrow flagstone path that runs along the east side of the house. I am looking for a native moss that can fill in between the flagstones and will tolerate morning su...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for rock garden under large oak
October 02, 2012 - I am planning a small rock garden under a large oak tree. I would like a spreading evergreen ground cover that will grow in the shade. Drought-tolerant would be preferred as I live in the high plains...
view the full question and answer

Wet & Shade in South Austin
February 19, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants - I live in south Austin (S. of Ben White) in a new development. Our houses are fairly close together, so there's little sun between them. The issue is that when it does rain, ...
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.