En Español

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?


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

Monday - December 24, 2012

From: Whitney, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Seed and Plant Sources, Watering, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Trees
Title: Plants for oak shade from Whitney TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I live in Whitney, Texas and have a number of beautiful Live Oak trees in a portion of my yard providing deep shade. Asian Jasmine grows in about 5 ft circle around them and then nothing! I have walk ways and a stone patio in there. The area is on a slight hill and I am having erosion problem. I can water this area but prefer not to have to water it regularly. I am a novice to any type of gardening. Do you have suggestions as to what to plant and where to purchase these suggestions?


We love new gardeners because we can encourage them to get onto what we consider the right track. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which those plants grow naturally.

A question very similar to yours has also just been answered by Mr. Smarty Plants, including what to do about the jasmine (non-native and very invasive), and plants that make good shade groundcover, all native to the area of North Central Texas, where Hill County is.

You may spend a half a day reading all those sites and the links they have to take you to plant webpages, etc., but there are all kinds of good ideas for shade, erosion control and water conservation. Your last question concerned sources for purchasing plants and/or seeds. Go to our National Suppliers Directory, put your town and state or just your zipcode in the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and consultants in your general area. All have contact information so you can check in advance to see if they stock what you need or can get it for you. There are lots of alternate plant choices in these various previous answers that you should be able to settle on something that you can obtain.


More Trees Questions

When is it time to remove diseased oak trees in Belton, TX?
May 03, 2013 - When to give up on my live oaks. We lost/mostly several live oaks since 2011 and the drought. One, died from the crown, one large mass at a time, and now resembles a 10' totem pole with scraggly gro...
view the full question and answer

Why is non-native peach tree not going dormant in Owensville IN
December 19, 2011 - I have a peach tree I grew from a peach pit. It is about 2 years old. I planted the tree in my yard this summer. It is now about 3' tall. My problem is it is not going dormant. We have had several fr...
view the full question and answer

Will smoketrees (Cotinus sp.) grow in the Texas Panhandle region
June 03, 2010 - Will smoke trees grow in the Lubbock-Amarillo, Texas region of Texas?
view the full question and answer

Will wax myrtle (Morella cerifera) grow in Roswell NM?
September 29, 2011 - We live in Roswell, NM. Will a wax myrtle tree live in our climate and soil?
view the full question and answer

Are magnolia trees toxic for dogs?
February 05, 2014 - Del Mar, California- are magnolia trees, (their bark, roots, pods) toxic to small dogs? My Westie terriers are exhibiting lack of appetite and diarrea this late winter. Tonight I saw on our local n...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center