Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Tuesday - May 12, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: How to protect Columbine plants from Texas sun
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I planted some Red columbine seeds in October of last year and they are now doing well, roughly 6-inches tall. I believed I was planting them in mostly shade at the time; that area now seems to get 6+hours of sun each day. I've planted a Yaupon nearby to increase the shade but it's likely it'll take at least a year for any decent shade from this small tree. My question: Can Red columbine survive in full sun throughout our summer months? Also, what can I do to assist it until the Yaupon takes over and gives a bit more shade? Thank you!

ANSWER:

I assume that you have grown the popular Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine).  I suggest that you plant a rapidly growing species, such as Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod),Helianthus maximiliani (Maximilian sunflower) or Physostegia virginiana (Fall obedient plant) between the Columbine and the prevailing sun's rays to provide some shade.  You may need temporary shade cloth to protect your Columbine until the taller shading species reach a suitable height.  The shading plants mentioned above should be available at one of the local plant nurseries.

I have found that a yellow native Texas Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha var. hinckleyana (Hinckley's golden columbine) survives several hours of direct sun in Austin, although it is rather unattractive in midsummer.  A red cultivar also has a degree of heat tolerance. If you chose to plant one or more of these possibly more heat-tolerant varieties, you would need to separate each variety at some distance from the others because Columbine hybridizes readily.

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native Shade Tree for Central Texas
February 26, 2011 - My parents are buried in Round Mountain Cemetery close to Marble Falls, TX. Can you recommend a tree or shrub we can plant to shade their graves? We need something that can survive and grow in the h...
view the full question and answer

Hanging flowering plants in part shade in Denton, TX
September 18, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'd like to hang 4"-6" pots with flowering plants from north-facing eaves. That area gets an hour or so of late-morning/noon sun. Also, my apt. faces a large courtyard so...
view the full question and answer

What plant grows in extremely hot Texas weather in the shade in Dallas Texas?
July 30, 2009 - What plant grows in extremely hot Texas weather in the shade?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for dry shade in Virginia
May 23, 2008 - I live in Reston, Virginia and have dry shade. What are the best plants to use for my garden. Xeriscaping and native plants are important considerations.
view the full question and answer

Central Texas plants for dry partial shade
April 17, 2007 - I live in Austin Texas. My front garden area has rocky dry soil with intermittent sunlight and shade, maybe 2 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. Herbs do great. What perennial flowers (for some color) w...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.