Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
7 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

Weeds in Blue Rug juniper in Phoenix MD
September 28, 2009 - The landscaper planted Blue Rug Junipers around the Helleri Holly and Yews in front of my house ten years ago. The Blue Rug has done great and looks really nice. My problem is that weeds grow up in ...
view the full question and answer

Possible source for seeds of American beautyberry and Eastern sweetshrub
March 23, 2010 - I have a nursery growing native plants in North Carolina. I would like to find a source to purchase seed for the white berried American beauty berry and Calycanthus floridus athens, can you suggest a ...
view the full question and answer

Removal of non-native invasive Ligustrum japonica from Austin
February 14, 2012 - I bought a house that I am slowly turning into a native garden, but as a teacher, I have a really small budget. One entire border of my backyard (30 feet) was planted with evil Ligustrum japonica. I l...
view the full question and answer

Twisted hibiscus tree in Plainfield, IN
April 24, 2009 - I have just bought 4 twisted hibiscus trees and repotted them immediately then brought them into my screened in porch until I was certain the weather would be safe to keep them outside (I live in Cent...
view the full question and answer

White flowers to plant in front of evergreen tree screen in Altoona PA
June 15, 2010 - I have planted about 30 evergreen trees (as a screen). I would like to plant a row of low maintenance whitish flowering bushes or low maintenance large flowering plants in front of this row. Any sug...
view the full question and answer

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