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

Friday - June 14, 2013

From: Medina, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Drought & Deer Resistant Shrub for Shade in Medina, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We are dedicated to native plants in Medina, but are desperate to find a drought and deer resistant shrub for shade. Would we be too far off base with an oleander bush? We know birds and most butterflies hate them. Please advise.

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants is gratified to hear of your dedication to native plants. Don’t despair – the Wildflower Center has the tools to suggest a number of possible shrubs that are drought resistant and reasonably deer resistant.

First of all, I’m pretty negative on using Oleander.   It does repel birds, butterflies and presumably deer, but do you really want to use a non-native that is poisonous also?  Our attitude about this North African introduction is summarized pretty well in the first part of this earlier response.  

To make some more positive suggestions, the Wildflower Center has built a search capability right into it’s “Recommended Species” page.  As you are in Texas, there are special collections that have been created for our ecoregions.  Medina is in the Edwards Plateau ecoregion.

Then it is simply a process of limiting the search to Shrubs,  “Dry” Soil Moisture, and “Shade” as Light Requirement, and then considering the results.  Deer Resistance is sometimes mentioned as a “BENEFIT”.   When I did this, I was returned five candidates that approach your requirements:
Ceanothus americanus (New jersey tea),
Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon),
Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) [high deer resistance],
Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac),
Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto) [moderate Deer resistance and an interestingly different choice!]

Hopefully, one of these will be a superior candidate for your shrub!

 

From the Image Gallery


New jersey tea
Ceanothus americanus

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

More Shrubs Questions

Butterfly bushes and weed killer in Pueblo West CO
August 27, 2011 - I have 3 previously healthy butterfly bushes that have one by one developed masses of tiny yellowish-green compact leaves. The entire bush went from its normal healthy appearance to something that res...
view the full question and answer

Sources for Ilex shrubs from Boca Raton FL
April 29, 2013 - Where can I find Ilex plants in the Boca Raton, FL area? I would like to use them for hedges.
view the full question and answer

At what age should a Mountain Laurel bloom?
March 13, 2009 - At what age should a Texas Mountain Laurel bloom? I saw your response about feeding and about how high nitrogen fertilizers can diminish blooms but is there anything that will help, eg. "super bloom...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Silverado Sage from Temple TX
September 24, 2012 - Hello, I've got some mature Silverado Sage. Can they be successfully transplanted or do I need to buy new plants for the next residence? I have them planted in a raised bed. I realize that IF it is ...
view the full question and answer

Further information on soil pH for growing blueberries
December 31, 2008 - Thank you for your reponse to my question / comment. You were exactly right about soil pH. Here is what Clemson University Extension has to say about growing blueberries in North and South Carolina....
view the full question and answer

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