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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 03, 2007

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Spring blooming plants for spring sun and summer shade
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in San Antonio. I'm faced with a dilemma. I've got mature native pecans. In the summer they provide beautiful full shade. However, in the winter and even into the late spring, my yard is in full blazing sun. Since pecans leaf out so much later than all other trees, this full blazing sun lasts into the late spring. This is a real dilemma for shade loving plants. However, the summer shade presents a problem for sun loving plants. The problem is worse in the spring, when it is getting hot What can I plant that will bloom at least in early spring, or at a time before my pecans leaf out. This year, I planted Hinkley's Columbine, but it ended up rotting. I don't think it is well adapted to San Antonio. The appearance of the sun loving plants under the shade doesn't bother me. It is the shade loving plants under the blazing sun that suffer. I was thinking of possibly Salvia coccinia? It seems like it blooms as soon as the the last frost. I've also considered Pavonia. (Although some of these plants may not bloom in the summer shade, I don't think it will "hurt" the plant to be in summer shade.) Are there any other spring blooming plants that do well in sun, but can tolerate summer shade?

ANSWER:

Salvia coccinea (scarlet sage), as well as Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage), Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) and Scutellaria ovata (heartleaf skullcap) from the Family Lamiaceae (Mint Family), would all be good choices.

Other possibilities are Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow), Pavonia lasiopetala (rose pavonia), Packera obovata (golden groundsel), and Lantana urticoides (Texas lantana).

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper) and Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats) don't have colorful blossoms but both have interesting foliage and should do well in this situation.


Salvia coccinea

Salvia roemeriana

Salvia lyrata

Scutellaria ovata

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Pavonia lasiopetala

Packera obovata

Lantana urticoides

Chasmanthium latifolium

Parthenocissus quinquefolia
 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Deer resistant plants for large pot in light shade in Austin
March 30, 2007 - For an Austin yard, please suggest a shrub or a mixture of plants for a 15 gallon clay pot. The area has dappled light and deer. I would prefer a deciduous plant if possible.
view the full question and answer

Full Shade Plants for Muncy PA
April 10, 2014 - I need a suggestion for almost full shade plants for central Pennsylvania.
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade under pine trees in Grapevine TX
May 16, 2010 - What plants are good to put under pine trees in the shade? I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area? The previous owners stuck a Japanese Maple in there that seems to be ok and some sort of holly bush (n...
view the full question and answer

Grass for dense shade in Simpsonville SC
May 12, 2010 - We live in Simpsonville, SC. Our back yard leads back into very dense woods. It is extremely shady, virtually no direct sun for any length of time. We have a hard time growing grass here. What type of...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for rock garden under large oak
October 02, 2012 - I am planning a small rock garden under a large oak tree. I would like a spreading evergreen ground cover that will grow in the shade. Drought-tolerant would be preferred as I live in the high plains...
view the full question and answer

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