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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


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!


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

Ilex vomitoria

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Mountain sage
Salvia regla

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Tree to replace Betula nigra (River birch) in Memphis
August 13, 2012 - HI Mr. Smarty Pants, I think I need to replace the river birch tree in my west-facing front yard in Memphis, TN. I have sun all day, but it gets really hot in the afternoon. The soil in my yar...
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Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
January 19, 2012 - My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
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Privacy screening shrubs from La Quinta CA
July 31, 2013 - I need a solid row of screen tree / shrubs that are at least 10 feet (prefer 12) tall and can be kept trimmed to a narrow (6 foot or less?) width. Will be planted against a 6' cement wall facing west...
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Plants for a Austin thicket underlayer
July 25, 2014 - We live in Austin, west of 183. We are planning to put a thicket in our backyard, where there is no threat of deer. Anchoring the thicket are a clump of live oaks, a Texas persimmon, an Eve's Necklac...
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Watering needs for a new landscape
October 11, 2008 - How much and how frequently are you supposed to water after implementing a new landscape? For example, perennials and succulents that are drought tolerant.
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