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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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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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Amelanchier alnifolia

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Callicarpa americana

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Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Cenizo
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Twoleaf senna
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Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Coralberry
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Yellow bells
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More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants to control erosion in shade in California
October 06, 2008 - I need plants that will help prevent soil erosion on a sloping area under a wood fence. The area has filtered light. thank you!
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Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
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Native ground covers for shade in East Texas
June 06, 2008 - I live in Mount Pleasant, Texas which is in northeast Texas. I would like a list of ground covers that would do well in our area. The place I want to put it gets a lot of shade. The ground is clay. Th...
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transplanting Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
October 25, 2011 - Behind our house is a huge grotto with a spring flowing through it that runs into a creek. Because of the constant flow of water, there are many of the Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris). I ...
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Small evergreen shrubs for part shade in Texas
January 31, 2015 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I'm, for some reason, at odds with myself about a shrub decision. I have need about 8 ft of hedge-like evergreen shrub(s) that I can maintain around 4ft to go under a window. It...
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