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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.

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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.

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Monday - June 08, 2015

From: Seguin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Advice for Texas Mountain Laurel in shady, narrow bed.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

My house faces N/NE and gets a lot of shade. I would like to plant a Texas Mountain Laurel in my narrow front bed, but what is the best way to amend my clay soil since it prefers rocky soil? What would pair well with it? Or are there other plants you would recommend instead? I couldn't find a similar q&a so I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you!

ANSWER:

We cannot recommend Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) for that location.  A narrow bed is going to be too small of this species, which can grow to 20 feet (or more) in height and spread to that width.  Moreover, while it will grow in shady locations, it tends to become thin, leggy and unattractive and does not flower well.

Turk's Cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii) or Coralberry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus) might be good choices for the location you describe.

 

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