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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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Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

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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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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.

 
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Monday - July 11, 2016

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Shrub for Shady Austin, Texas Backyard
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for a colorful shrub or bush for my drab backyard in Austin. It won't get much sun and I want something native that detracts bugs if possible.

ANSWER:

The first place to start your plant search is the Native Plant Database on our website. Select the following search criteria: Texas, Shrub, Perennial, Part Shade (or Shade if less than 2 hours of sun per day) and an extensive list of shrubs (414 of them) will be generated for you to investigate. You can narrow the list by selecting a specific height, foliage type or soil moisture requirements. It is doubtful if you will find a shrub that specifically says that it will detract bugs though. And, often flowering shrubs will be a denser plant and have more blooms or fruit if they are grown in sunnier locations.

 

From the Image Gallery


Saskatoon serviceberry
Amelanchier alnifolia

Flame acanthus
Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

Coralbean
Erythrina herbacea

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens



Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

More Shrubs Questions

Narrow, evergreen shrub for privacy
December 28, 2008 - I live in San Antonio and my backyard is all driveway except for a 2-3' space in front of a 6 ft chain fence. I'd like to find an evergreen narrow shrub for privacy. Would Nandina be a good choice?...
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Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel
November 12, 2009 - How much can I prune a 10 year old mountain laurel to re-shape it and when?
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Problems with non-native yellow lantana from Elgin TX
June 17, 2012 - Why do my yellow lantana buds turn brown and do not open fully? The sprinkler system does not spray onto the lantana.
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Pruning non-native Chinese fringe flower from Austin
June 24, 2013 - When is the best time of year to prune Plum Delight? And how severely can it be cut back?
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Cupressaceae dying in Suffolk Co.NY
October 20, 2012 - I have noticed that all of my Cupressaceae (& others I see in my area) are dying. They turn yellow, then rust & brown til they are everbrowns. what is going on?
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