En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Partial shade plants for underneath ash tree in Tarrant County, Texas

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

Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: Haltom City, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Partial shade plants for underneath ash tree in Tarrant County, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a BIG Ash Tree in my front yard that blocks out most afternoon sun. I generally get morning and evening sun. I am looking for something to plant around the base of the tree so my yard doesn't look so plain. Currently I am growing Japanese boxwood and they look terrible. A friend suggested Fountain grass, but I'm not sure if they would survive. I would prefer something that stays evergreen and/or is a perennial. Any help you can give me would be great.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants wouldn't recommend Pennisetum setaceum (fountain grass) since it is a native of Northern Africa and considered invasive by the Plant Conservation Alliance's Alien Plant Working Group.  Additionally, it probably wouldn't work very well in the partial shade of your ash tree since it requires full sun.  You can find plants native to your area that fit your criteria, however, by visiting our Recommended Species page and choosing North Central Texas from the map.  This will give you a list, Texas-North Central Recommended, of more than 100 commercially available native plants for your area.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose light, moisture and size requirements.  Here are a few suggestions from that list that would work well under your ash tree:

Wedelia texana (Zexmenia) is a perennial and can be evergreen depending on the winters in your area.  It  has a long bloom time.

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower) is a deciduous perennial and does require a moderate amount of moisture.  It spreads to form an attractive ground cover.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is an understory shrub that will grow well in partial shade.  It is perennial and deciduous but has bright lavender berries that last into the fall and winter.

Here are some other possibilities that don't appear on the list but are native to Tarrant County:

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) is a very attractive clump grass that grows well in shade and part shade.  It is perennial, but its foliage and seeds remain attractive well into winter.  In the spring when the new grass begins to sprout at the base of the old clump, you can then cut off the old foliage.

Thelypteris kunthii (Wood fern) is semi-evergreen and requires some moisture.

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge) and Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) are grass-like, evergreen and grow well in part shade.

 Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap) is perennial and grows well in shade or part shade. 

Additionally, you can find other recommended native plants for your area from the Cross Timbers Chapter (Parker County) of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

Here are photos of the above plants from our Image Gallery:


Wedelia texana


Conoclinium coelestinum


Callicarpa americana


Chasmanthium latifolium


Thelypteris kunthii


Carex cherokeensis


Carex planostachys


Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Ornamental plants for under live oaks
September 08, 2008 - What ornamental plant will do well under Live Oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Different shades of green in Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)
June 05, 2008 - I have two bald cypress trees 50 feet apart, but there was very different soil in the two holes. One was a clayey soil and the other was much more the Austin limestone soil. The trees are about 2 ye...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen for shade
August 28, 2008 - Hi, I am looking for a plant that is evergreen (or semi evergreen), native to central Texas, and shade tolerant. This is for a Wildscape area in San Marcos. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for sun/part shade in Austin
May 07, 2008 - I live in Southwest Austin and I have a small backyard that has part sun/part shade. I have no grass in the backyard and my soil is not the healthiest, so I would like to plant some groundcover versus...
view the full question and answer

Vine for shaded area in Austin
February 15, 2009 - Hi! I live in South Austin, and love my backyard. It is enclosed by chain-link fencing, and shrouded by (ack!) Hackberry trees. I would like to plant a vine on one fence to provide a privacy screen. T...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center