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

Native shrubs or ground cover for north-facing landscape in Ft. Worth
March 23, 2010 - Need native plant ideas for a landscaping bed against the house facing north. Already has 1 Beautyberry but two others died of root rot last year due to incredibly high water table in our area. Old ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers suitable for full sun and partial shade in the Dallas, Texas area
October 22, 2007 - What wildflowers are best for the Dallas area both in sunny and semi shade locations? Are you able to purchase by mail?
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that are shade tolerant for Austin, TX
January 21, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for Texas native plants that are shade tolerant....specifically agaves (How about the Century Agave and the Queen Victoria Agave?) and something to add a splash ...
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
August 11, 2013 - Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
view the full question and answer

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