En EspaÑol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Shade tolerant low shrub for Houston

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
1 rating

Saturday - September 28, 2013

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Shade tolerant low shrub for Houston
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Please suggest a shade loving shrub that doesn't get more than 3' tall for a foundation planting along a front porch in Houston, TX. I prefer native, drought resistant if possible. No nursery person has any idea what to plant.

ANSWER:

We will go to our Native Plant Database, scroll down that page to the Combination Search, specify Texas as the state, "shrub" as the Habit, and both "part shade" (two to six hours a day of sun) and "shade" under Light Requirements, and 1-3 ft. under Height. When we clicked on Submit Search we got a list of 28 species of shrub native to Texas, but on checking the USDA Native Plant Database for counties in which those shrubs grew natively, there were only three that grow even close to Harris County. They are:

Ceanothus americanus (New jersey tea)

Prunus gracilis (Oklahoma plum)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)

We were wondering if perhaps the low height may be the limiting factor in your request; most shrubs tend to grow more in the 3 to 6 ft. range. So, we would like to suggest a possible alternatve - there are a few really attractive native grasses that can tolerate that much shade and remain below 3 ft. tall. They are:

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Eragrostis intermedia (Plains lovegrass)

Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass)

Please follow each plant link to our webpage to learn growing conditions, projected height, amount of shade tolerated, etc.

We will also go slightly off the recommendations in the Native Plant Database. Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) definitely grows in Harriss County, is evergreen and tolerates part shade. It is, however, ordinarily much taller than 3 ft. There are dwarf versions of the yaupon which you should be able to find in local nurseries. Here is an article from the South Florida Plant Guide on Schillings Dwarf Holly. The picture of Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) from our Image Gallery is not a dwarf but has the same growing conditions and light requirements.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


New jersey tea
Ceanothus americanus

Oklahoma plum
Prunus gracilis

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Plains lovegrass
Eragrostis intermedia

Texas bluegrass
Poa arachnifera

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

More Planting Questions

Propagation information from Queens NY
October 04, 2012 - Hello. I would appreciate information on when to plant the following plants. I found on the USDA website that all these plants could withstand the cold. ALthough they can withstand harsh weather, ...
view the full question and answer

Overwatering Texas Mountain Laurel from Rosanky TX
June 06, 2012 - I just read your article in the Statesman about over watering Mt.Laurel. Now I know why my lovely 15 year old tree is dying. We put in new grass this winter and I watered too much. Is there any hop...
view the full question and answer

Plants for 100 gal. pot by pool from Ft. Worth TX
June 23, 2012 - What North Texas evergreen — or combination of evergreen plants, bushes or trees — could thrive in a huge, 100-gallon clay pot (immovable!) that is situated in full sun year round in an exposed area n...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of contaminants leaching from asphalt driveway to adjacent vegetable garden in Tucson
April 13, 2011 - We have planted a vegetable garden next to a driveway. The driveway has recently (within the last 2 years) been covered with asphalt. My concern is that the oil may leach into my vegetables. Is thi...
view the full question and answer

Anacacho orchid not leafing out in Georgetown TX
April 18, 2013 - February 2012 I planted 2 4-ft anacacho orchids which did well. This spring, they have yet to leaf out or even bud. There is green, however, when I scratch the stems and some suckers at the bottom of ...
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