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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - March 27, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Privacy hedge for shady area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are looking to plant a privacy hedge around the perimeter of our yard that will grow to 6 or 8 feet tall - some of the perimeter is exposed to sun and we will likely go with evergreen sumac - however, a large part of the perimeter is in the shade of some live oak trees - what can we plant that will form a fast growing, 6ft tall, dense hedge in the shade? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) is certainly a good choice for the sunny areas and it will actually grow in part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day).  It is an understory shrub in many areas. 

Here are some other possibilities:

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is another reasonably fast-growing evergreen that will grow in part shade. If you decide on this species, you should be aware that there are dwarf varieties of this species available and check carefully before you purchase your plants.

Condalia hookeri (Brazilian bluewood) is a thicket-forming shrub or small tree that grows in part shade and has a moderate growth rate.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) will grow in full shade (<2 hours sun per day) or partial shade, but its growth rate is moderate.   

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) grows in partial shade but is slow-growing.

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) will also grow in partial shade but is slow-growing.  It spiny leaves would discourage any entry through the hedge.

The growth rate of any of these, of course, will be affected by the general growing conditions—soil type, availability of water, and amount of sunlight.

 


Rhus virens

Morella cerifera

Condalia hookeri

Ilex vomitoria

Sophora secundiflora

Mahonia trifoliolata

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Tough grasses for shade
November 24, 2010 - What kind of grass/groundcover can I put in our backyard that is shady/dry and has 50 lb. high energy dog traffic? Was considering Horse Herb but not sure, as it sounds like you can't get rid of it,...
view the full question and answer

Perennial phlox for partial shade
April 16, 2008 - I am planting a butterfly garden in a plot that gets sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. I read that phlox does well in partial-shade areas, and was wondering which native, perennial phlox ...
view the full question and answer

Need mowable ground cover for shady area under trees in Lake Charles, LA.
July 12, 2010 - I live in Southwest Louisiana. I have a large portion of my back yard that is very shady because I have large trees in the yard. The area dries up fairly quickly after a heavy rain, so it isn't extre...
view the full question and answer

Good evergreen screen and some shade plants for Plano Texas
November 03, 2010 - We live in Plano Texas. We have 15' between our house and our neighbor. We want to plant a divider/screen of something evergreen, about 6-15' (6-8' is better) and narrow, about 2-3' wide between t...
view the full question and answer

Native shade trees for Austin
May 15, 2009 - I am building a new home that does not have any trees close by-- I want to have several shade trees to increase the efficiency of my home. What are your suggestions for an easy care, fast-growing, an...
view the full question and answer

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