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

What to do about leaf spot on Vaccinium myrsinites in Clearwater FL?
June 24, 2010 - I have recently planted many Vaccinium myrsinites (shiny blueberry) in my yard. These plants seem to have many dead twig branches without leaves. The remaining leaves have red spots. I visited a na...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen thorny bush for California
May 01, 2010 - I need to find an evergreen thorny type bush, shrub or tree that will grow with about 3-4 hours of morning sun only. Prefer CA native, inland/semi coastal. Purpose: To provide a deterrent for "tag...
view the full question and answer

Drought-Tolerant, Evergreen Groundcover for CA
August 21, 2014 - We are looking for a drought tolerant, evergreen groundcover for California. I am considering Sarcococca hookeriana and Cotoneaster dammeri but don't know if they're the best options for the area. I...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for Birds and Bees in North Texas
December 17, 2015 - I have a small backyard and would love to grow native plants for North Texas. I don't think I can grow trees, but for sure can do 1-2 crape myrtle-size shrubs. I have some rose of Sharon's going on ...
view the full question and answer

Planting time for non-natives in Irving TX
February 07, 2012 - Have dwarf nandinas and two lorapetalums that I want to transplant. Can I do it now February 6th 2012?
view the full question and answer

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