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Tuesday - March 15, 2011

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


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?


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




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