Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
4 ratings

Wednesday - May 02, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Native plants for heavy clay soil in east Austin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in East Austin and have very thick clay soil on my property. I also have a lot of shade and partial sun/shade. Can you suggest some native plant varieties that are well-adapted to these conditions? I am looking for groundcover as well as small shrubs or bushes? Many of the native plants I see at local nursuries like more sandy, well-drained soil and lots of direct sun!

ANSWER:

The following will grow in partial shade and tolerate Austin's heavy clay soils.

Groundcovers:

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit)

Rivina humilis (pigeon-berry)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)


Shrubs:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius (Berlandier's sundrops)

Leucophyllum frutescens (cenizo)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Pavonia lasiopetala (rose mallow)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Sophora secundiflora (mountain laurel)


Phyla nodiflora

Rivina humilis

Carex texensis

Callicarpa americana

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius

Leucophyllum frutescens

Morella cerifera

Pavonia lasiopetala

Rhus aromatica

Rhus virens

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Colorful native plants for oak tree shade in Houston
August 26, 2009 - I live in Houston Tx - our subdivision entrance has many oak trees. We cannot find anything that will "stay alive" around these trees. It is mostly shady, but gets a slight bit of sunlight. we wo...
view the full question and answer

Stream Bank Erosion Control for Bryan/College Station
August 16, 2012 - I live in the Bryan/College Station area and need a ground cover to abate erosion on the bank of an intermittent stream. The bank is shaded. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
February 07, 2012 - Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife Attracting Plants for a Shady Patio
July 03, 2014 - We have a concrete patio that receives 2-3 hours of sunlight a day, so the only plants we will be able to grow will be in container. We are looking for plants that do well in shade, and containers and...
view the full question and answer

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.
view the full question and answer

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