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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 - November 18, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plant for total shade in Austin Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Most of north wall of my house is in total shade. Is there a native that will grow there? The nonnative Cast Iron Plant is thriving and the soil is good. Your list of plants requiring 2 hours or less of sun does not answer to the problem of no direct sunlight.

ANSWER:

The category of "2 hours or less of sun" is meant to cover the "no direct sunlight" situation.   Here are some plants that should do well in your sunless area:

Capsicum annuum (Chile pequin)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap)

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)

Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto)

Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata (Heartleaf skullcap)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

You can see more possibilities on the Plants for Dry Shade in Central Texas and the Texas–Central Recommended pages.  Use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose "Shade–2 hrs or less" from Light Requirement on either of those lists to find the plants that do well in total shade.  There are other interesting lists of plants under Just for Central Texans on our Recommended Species page.

 

From the Image Gallery


Chile pequin
Capsicum annuum

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Heartleaf skullcap
Scutellaria ovata ssp. bracteata

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Wet & Shade in South Austin
February 19, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants - I live in south Austin (S. of Ben White) in a new development. Our houses are fairly close together, so there's little sun between them. The issue is that when it does rain, ...
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Ivy for shady wall in New York
June 25, 2009 - I live in Melville, New York. The house is adjacent to the Long Island Expressway and there is a cement sound barrier wall about 25 feet high that runs along the backyard of my 1 acre property. I ...
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Non-toxic shade trees for horses in Florida
April 01, 2009 - Looking for non poisonous shade trees for pasture with horses. Would prefer flowering or something that changes color. Thank you.
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Small evergreen shrubs for part shade in Texas
January 31, 2015 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I'm, for some reason, at odds with myself about a shrub decision. I have need about 8 ft of hedge-like evergreen shrub(s) that I can maintain around 4ft to go under a window. It...
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Salt-tolerant groundcover for shade with no water supply
September 11, 2013 - We have a home in Neptune Beach (Jacksonville) Florida (NE Florida). We have a large area outside our ground floor master bedroom that is completely covered (there is a large solid deck above it). ...
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