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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

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!

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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.

 

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Saskatoon serviceberry
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Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Cenizo
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Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Yellow bells
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