Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Shrub that does not attract birds in Michigan
June 17, 2009 - Does a "Center Glow" ninebark have seeds? I want a shrub that does NOT attract birds!
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace hydrangeas in a wet area in New York
July 09, 2010 - Dear Smarty, Two years ago I planted 4 Endless Summer Hydrangas in front of the front porch of my summer cottage on Saratoga Lake. The first year they struggled the second they are limp. Can you give...
view the full question and answer

Flowering Shrub for Houston, TX
April 24, 2014 - I live in Houston, Texas and would like to plant a flowering shrub 3-6 feet in height. It will get sun to part sun, 2-6 hours daily. I have had azaleas in this area and am now looking for something to...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA
January 30, 2012 - What shrubs can I plant on a wet slope that gets partial sun that will help control erosion? They need to be something the deer won't eat! We have lots of deer.
view the full question and answer

Pruning Citrus Suckers
October 06, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants, you are the only person that has "not" insisted that the little balls on Satsuma and lemon trees were clumps of bugs. They are surely what you described in the answer to my previo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.