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?

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
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

Monday - July 11, 2011

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Trees
Title: Fragrant perennial plants for shade in Dallas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I am looking for shade-loving perennial plants to provide fragrance in my garden. What plants would you recommend for my North Texas (Dallas) garden that is fully shaded by huge pecan trees? My current favorite is Carolina Jessamine (Jasmine?), but it blooms only briefly.

ANSWER:

From the presence of large pecan trees Mr. Smarty Plants guesses that you live in a Blackland Prairie site with soil that can retain moisture.  Although many fragrance-producing plants in your area are not natives, there are natives that can fill that role very well.  The examples I shall mention should all thrive in light shade of the type usually found under large pecan trees.  The more light, the better blooms you can expect.  For early spring, before your pecan trees leaf out, try Viola blanda var. palustriformis (Sweet white violet),  Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) and Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)(fragrance from this latter plant can be overwhelming, so place it a few feet away from "nose-zero"). Clethra alnifolia (Coastal sweet pepperbush), Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush),Phlox pilosa (Downy phlox),Philadelphus texensis (Texas mock orange)Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood), and Ageratina havanensis (Havana snakeroot), locally called White Mistflower, are worth considering.  Fall-blooming species include Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel) and Tagetes lemmonii (Copper canyon daisy).  Foliage of the latter species, when brushed against, releases a powerful aroma attractive to some people but not to others.  Additional selections that release their fragrance when brushed against include Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) and Mentha arvensis (Wild mint).  Click on the underlined species names to determine if each appears suitable for your setting on the basis of light and moisture requirements.

You should be able to locate most of these plants at one of your local native plant nurseries

 

From the Image Gallery


Arizona centaury
Centaurium calycosum

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Coastal sweet pepperbush
Clethra alnifolia

Northern spicebush
Lindera benzoin

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Texas kidneywood
Eysenhardtia texana

Shrubby boneset
Ageratina havanensis

Witch hazel
Hamamelis virginiana

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Wild mint
Mentha arvensis

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Is dichondra repens native from Hillsboro, TX
November 28, 2012 - What about diachondra repens? Is it native? Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Plant that can move from outside to inside for Denton, TX
December 14, 2008 - I am looking for a plant that is either native to Texas or is well acclimated to the Denton TX area that can move from a covered outside area to an adjacent indoor area behind large glass walls, to a ...
view the full question and answer

What species of Aristolochia occur in Hidalgo County, TX?
August 06, 2009 - What species of Aristolochia or are in the Aristolochiaceae family occur in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, particularly Hidalgo Co., TX. Both Pipevine and Polydamas Swallowtail butterflies occur down h...
view the full question and answer

Hillside Erosion Control for Gainesville GA
August 07, 2013 - I have a steep bare hill and the runoff from it is heavy this year. I need help with a fast growing groundcover that will help control erosion and runoff. Planting on the hill is difficult because you...
view the full question and answer

Salvia that needs dividing in Maryville MO
April 09, 2010 - I have some May Night salvia that is 3 years old. Last summer it split in the middle and spent a lot of the summer laid open. I'm wondering if it needs to be split or pruned in some way?
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