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
3 ratings

Wednesday - March 11, 2009

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Small shrub to plant in Austin Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi.. I live in Southwest Austin and I am looking for a shrub that I can plant against the back of my house, which faces the north. I want something native, fairly low maintenance and not too large, as I would like them to be under the windows. I have several oaks in my backyard I get part-shade/part-sun. Thanks, Cindi

ANSWER:

Here are some recommendations for low-growing shrubs that are suited to the Austin climate and soils:

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is evergreen and you can find dwarf cultivars that would not grow too tall.

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius (Berlandier's sundrops) has lovely yellow blossoms.  It will die down in the winter and come back from the base in the spring.

Chrysactinia mexicana (damianita) is low-growing (1-2 feet) and evergreen.

Lantana urticoides (West Indian shrubverbena) grows 3 to 6 feet, but can be pruned to size.

Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii (Wright's desert honeysuckle) grows to around 3 feet and can be pruned to size.

Dalea frutescens (black prairie clover) grows up to 3 feet high.

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) is evergreen and there are dwarf cultivars that reach about 3 feet.

Here are two possibilities that aren't really shrubs, but both are evergreen and normally grow less than 3 feet tall.

Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista)

Sabal minor (dwarf palmetto)


Morella cerifera

Calylophus berlandieri ssp. pinifolius

Chrysactinia mexicana

Lantana urticoides

 

 


Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii

Dalea frutescens

Leucophyllum frutescens

Nolina texana

Sabal minor
 

More Shrubs Questions

Junipers for restoring area in Bulverde TX
November 03, 2012 - Are ashe or virginiana junipers for sale around the hill country? I would like to recreate the natural plant life that was bulldozed next to my home. Do you recommend any other types of juniper that ...
view the full question and answer

Tiny red bugs on Mountain Laurel from San Antonio TX
April 02, 2014 - Hordes of solid bright red tiny bugs are all over the bark of my Mountain Laurels. The infestation has me very worried. How can I deal with them? Thank you in advance for helping solve this problem.
view the full question and answer

Butterfly Plants for Chicago
September 13, 2014 - I live near Chicago, IL and am interested in planting a butterfly garden. Not sure when to start, but I want all native plants that would attract butterflies. Can you please let me know which plants ...
view the full question and answer

Finding a manzanita species suitable for Fort Worth, TX
April 28, 2015 - Which manzanita shrub would thrive best in the Fort Worth, Tx. area? I was thinking of planting it in a large pot. Thank You!
view the full question and answer

Plants for area near saltwater pool near Dallas
May 25, 2009 - Could you recommend perennial plants that would do well next to my saltwater pool just north of Dallas (Corinth) Texas?
view the full question and answer

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