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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.

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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.

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Saturday - March 30, 2013

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Deer resistant, shade tolerant foundation plants for Kerrville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking for foundation plants for shade that are deer resistant. Tall as well as medium height.

ANSWER:

The first problem with your request is the "deer-resistant" stipulation. We have a list of deer-resistant plants; please read this disclaimer paragraph from the top of the list:

"Deer Resistant Species

Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

Further complicating this problem is the fact that there are only 346 plants on that list, and that constitutes the native deer-resistant plants for North America, including Canada but not including Mexico. By the time we sort that list down to not only Texas, but Central Texas, there will be very few choices. First, we will go to our list of Deer Resistant Species and then, using the Sidebar on the right-hand side of that page, we will select on Texas for the state and "part shade" for Light Requirement so that we will get a list of all plants in Texas having exhibited some deer resistance and shade tolerant. We will not stipulate Height, because there are several ranges and the webpage on each will indicate the expected mature height. Caution: You will need to read the whole webpage on each plant; some of the indicators will be "Highly Resistant" under deer resistance, some will only be "Moderately Resistant."

Aesculus pavia (Scarlet buckeye)

Aloysia gratissima (Whitebrush)

Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)

Tecoma stans (Yellow bells)

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet buckeye
Aesculus pavia

Whitebrush
Aloysia gratissima

Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Texas kidneywood
Eysenhardtia texana

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

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