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

Wednesday - October 31, 2012

From: Grapeland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen shrub for East Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 & hummingbirds would be ideal. Would also be beneficial if when pruned the plant tends to become fuller. I would like to keep the shrubs no taller than five feet. The soil here is very acidic.

ANSWER:

The choices for small to medium evergreen shrubs that are native to East Texas are very limited.  Here are a few that I found that should do well.  All will grow in part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day).

Morella cerifera [syn. = Myrica cerifera] (Wax myrtle) may be your best bet.  It is evergreen, grows well in acidic soil, attracts birds with its berries and butterflies with its flowers and has dwarf cultivars that grow to only 5 or 6 feet.  The non-dwarf variety grows to 12 feet or more.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is evergreen, has flowers that attract insects and berries that birds and small mammals eat, and grows slowly to about 25 feet.  There are also dwarf varieties available.

Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire) is semi-evergreen in mild winters.  It has attractive flowers and grows up to 8 feet.  Here's more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto) grows 5 to 10 feet tall, is evergreen and has fruit that attracts birds and mammals.

If you would like to explore deciduous shrubs for your area, you can look through the plants on the Texas–East Recommended page.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to limit the list to shrubs by choosing "Shrub" from the General Appearance option.

 

From the Image Gallery


Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Virginia sweetspire
Itea virginica

Virginia sweetspire
Itea virginica

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

More Shrubs Questions

Native Streambank Plants for SE Pennsylvania
July 18, 2013 - I help manage a nature preserve in southeastern Pennsylvania. Along the stream the banks have been beaten down by a large number of visitors for their educational activities such as stream studies. Th...
view the full question and answer

Lack of Blooms and Low Hanging Limbs on Mountain Laurels
August 06, 2014 - My mountain laurel didn't bloom this year but has a few hard pods on it. It is 9 ft tall but very top heavy with most growth low. I need to prune it a lot at the bottom because it has branches hangi...
view the full question and answer

Red buckeye not blooming in NY
July 04, 2011 - I planted my red buckeye in September 2007 and it was about 18 inches tall. It is now a few inches short of 5ft. tall. I have had it in the ground for nearly 4 yrs and it has never bloomed. I have fr...
view the full question and answer

Need a shrub that can tolerate high winds in Casper, WY.
October 26, 2010 - I need a medium height evergreen shrub that can tolerate severe winds, extreme cold, and requires little water. I live in Casper WY, which is high-desert, 5,000 foot elevation, zone 4. We have roaming...
view the full question and answer

Large shrub or tree for front door in Houston
January 16, 2013 - I am in search of a shrub or tree to plant next to my front door. I want a showy medium sized shrub or tree (8 to 12 ft), decorative, and a privacy screen since my front door faces my next door neig...
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