En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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 Drought Tolerant Questions

Drought-resistant and grub-resistant grass for Smithville TX
October 02, 2012 - I want a drought resistant grass for a sunny area that is also resistant to grubs. I have lots of grubs but want a healthy soil of good microbes. Any ideas? Zoysia, Buffalo? I noticed that Tech Turf r...
view the full question and answer

Drought affecting non-native Zoysia grass in Austin
November 06, 2011 - Due to the extreme drought here in Austin this year and the watering restrictions our Zoysia lawn has suffered and appears to be dead in many areas of our lawn. Will it come back? Is there anything w...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to grow between flagstones in Vista, CA.
February 06, 2012 - Hi, I have put in a flagstone patio set in DG. The DG is creating a very sandy messy surface on the flagstone, so want to plant a low ground cover between the joints. Its a fairly large area, in sun...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover and Butterfly attractants for LaRue Texas
May 02, 2012 - LaRue, TX - Would like a native low growing plant as a groundcover. I would like it for six+ hours of sun, drought tolerant, and ones that butterflies might enjoy, while deer won't. Some winter int...
view the full question and answer

Shady Perennial Groundcover Suggestions for Indiana
April 21, 2013 - Could you please recommend perennial groundcovers for Indiana that are low and leafy, self-spreading, non-invasive, deer resistant, and moisture tolerant; and that are good for erosion control on a sh...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center