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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - July 24, 2015

From: Wichita Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant
Title: Drought and Shade tolerant plants for Wichita Falls, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I can find lots of information about planting drought tolerant, sun loving native plants, a number of which I've planted over the years. But I can find very little information about drought tolerant plants for areas of my garden that receive shade during at least 90% of the day during the summer. Can you provide me with some shade loving perennials that will last through the summer in the hot and dry climate of north Texas? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Wow – That’s a challenge!  Plants that like no sun, no water and are perennial to boot!

I checked with the Special Collections and a few plants came up, so that’s a good start.  The first collection I came across was Drought Resistant Plants for Texas and Beyond

These are searchable and when I selected Light Requirement: “Shade – 2 hrs of less” and Soil Moisture: “Dry –no signs of moisture” – 4 plants still remained.  They are Forestiera pubescens (Stretchberry), Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap), Ptelea trifoliata (Wafer ash) and Ruellia occidentalis (Western wild petunia).  All are perennials.

Another list that would apply to Wichita Falls is Texas-North Central Recommended.  Doing the same search on that yielded:

Trees:  Fraxinus americana (White ash), Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar), and Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak),

Shrubs:  Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon), Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac), Salvia regla (Mountain sage),

Herbs:  Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine), Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) [grass]

  Just for completeness, I also looked over the previous Mr Smarty Plants questions and responses.  You’re right, there are very few, and those that I found used pretty much the same method but applied to areas pretty far from you.

 

From the Image Gallery


Elbow bush
Forestiera pubescens

Turk's cap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Western wild petunia
Ruellia occidentalis

Wafer ash
Ptelea trifoliata

White ash
Fraxinus americana

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Mountain sage
Salvia regla

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

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