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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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Monday - April 15, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Deer Resistant and Drought Tolerant Pink-Flowering Shrub for Austin, TX
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Is there a pink-flowering bush that is deer resistant and drought tolerant that would do well in Austin, TX? If not pink flowering, any color of a flowering bush is fine.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database.  Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: Texas, Habit – Shrub, Duration – Perennial, Soil Moisture – Dry, and Bloom Color – Pink (you can easily change this to another color). This will give you 22 plants to narrow down. Next you can narrow down your search further by indicating light requirement (sun, part shade or shade), size, and leaf retention (deciduous or evergreen).

When you have your list of a dozen or so potential plants, take a look at the list of plants that deer tend to avoid. Cross reference your potential plants list with the deer resistant plant list and you will have some good candidates for your garden.

Two possibilities that fit your deer resistant, drought tolerant and pink flowering criteria are:

Symphoricarpos occidentalis (Western snowberry) small pinkish-white blooms in June-July. Deer-resistant.

Anisacanthus puberulus (dwarf desert honeysuckle) reddish-pink blooms June-September (Another in this genus is listed as deer resistant so this one might be also).

Expanding your blooming color to any other color will give you more plants to put on your possibilities list. Remember to consider other aspects of the plant such as bark, fruit, multi-season interest, or form in addition to flower color.

 

From the Image Gallery


Western snowberry
Symphoricarpos occidentalis

Dwarf desert honeysuckle
Anisacanthus puberulus

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