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?

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

Thursday - July 25, 2013

From: Grapeland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Grapeland, TX is NOT Grapevine, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I submitted a question and today received my answer. I do thank you for this valuable service. However, I stated that I lived in East Texas in GRAPELAND, Tx. Nan Hampton answered me and said that although I said I lived in East Texas the county I lived in (Tarrant) was actually north central. Yes, that is correct but I DO NOT live in Tarrant County, I live in Grapeland, Texas which is in Houston County ( not to be confused with the city of Houston). My question now is do the suggestions she provided still apply? My problem is that the area in question gets only sun during the middle of the day - directly overhead, it is shaded in the morning and the afternoon. I have tried several plants that say shade, partial shade, and some sun but since this area gets several hours of direct hot sun none of what I have tried works. Sorry there was any confusion.

ANSWER:

Please accept my apologies!  You wrote GRAPELAND, but I obiously read GRAPEVINE as your address in your question.  Very sorry about that.  There are some plants that I recommended for "Grapevine" that will work for "Grapeland" but you are definitely in East Texas and we should be looking at the Texas-East Recommended list.  You do have a unique situation with your available sunlight.  We'll see what we can find that might work.   I can't guarantee anything, but I can make suggestions.   As well as Light Requirement, you should read the requirements of the other criteria under GROWING CONDITIONS to be sure that they match your site. 

On the Texas-East Recommended list I used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option and chose both "Part Shade" and "Shade" under Light Requirement and "Herb" from General Appearance.  This gives you 30 choices.  I am going to recommend some that are pretty "reliable", but again they need to be compatible with the other growing conditions at your site.  All the herbs are shown on the USDA Plants Database as occurring in Houston County

 Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) is perennial.

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower) is perennial.

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot) is perennial.

Phlox pilosa (Downy phlox) is perennial.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan) is considered an annual or a short-lived perennial.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage) can be either annual or perennial.

Next, I left "Partial Shade" and "Shade" chosen and selected "Shrub" under General Appearance.  This gives you 22 choices.  With the exception of two of these (Turk's cap and Coralberry) that occur in counties adjacent to Houston, all the shrubs have been reported to grow in Houston County.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is evergreen.  It can be pruned to size and there are also dwarf varieties available.

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap) is shown growing in adjacent Walker County and Angelina County but not shown in Houston County.

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is evergreen and can be pruned.   There are also dwarf varieties available.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) is shown as occurring in adjacent Walker County, Madison County and Anderson County.

There are other choices on the list.  Not all of them occur in Houston County according to the USDA Plants Database.   That doesn't necessarily mean that they are absent from the county—they just haven't been officially reported.   I would think that any plant reported in a county adjacent to Houston County would stand a good chance of doing well there.   You can determine the county distribution of any of the plants on the list by clicking on the link for the plant on the list.  This will take you to the species page in our Native Plant Database. Scroll down the species page to the section near the bottom called Additional Resources.  Click on the USDA link there and then click on Texas on the distribution map on the USDA Plants Database page to see a county distribution map for Texas.   If you click on that map again, the names of the counties will be shown on the map.

You can find the names and contact information for nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants in our National Suppliers Directory.  You can also find a list of sources for native plants from the Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

I'm sure that you realize that in the heat of summer is not a good time sow seeds or to plant.  You can read our Gardening Timeline for advice on when to plant various seeds and do other gardening activities.  Shrubs should be planted in the fall after the temperature has gone down from the summer heat or in spring after threat of frost but before the summer heat.

 

From the Image Gallery


Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Downy phlox
Phlox pilosa

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for shady courtyard classroom garden in Weatherford, TX
March 27, 2007 - I am wanting to create an outdoor classroom area in the courtyard of my school. The courtyard is enclosed by all four sides and the building is two stories high. It does not receive much sunlight. Mos...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Native ornamental grass for part shade in Austin
December 22, 2010 - Hi. I am looking for a fast-growing hardy ornamental grass that will grow in partial shade in south Austin that is not considered invasive. Unfortunately I purchased a few of the Pennisetum setaceum r...
view the full question and answer

Sedges or grasses for sun/shade in Georgetown, TX
March 24, 2008 - I have an area that is part shaded (under oak trees) and part in the sun. I would like cedar sedge in the shaded areas (some is already growing there)but I can not find where to buy it. Do you know w...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
November 01, 2011 - I live in far NE Tarrant County (Ft Worth), TX and need a groundcover that can tolerate complete shade and poor, rocky, clay soil. I need mostly for erosion control, and needs to be relatively low
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center