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
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

Low plants for shady, damp area in Roanoke, TX
November 13, 2008 - First, thanks for answering my first question about Texas Native Trees for our new home! I have just started working on plans for our back yard and have a question about Texas Native Shade plants. W...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for shade in San Antonio
March 21, 2008 - I have a large red oak tree in the front yard. It is keeping any sun except filtered underneath. Faces n/w and in san antonio. I need a ground cover that is drought tolerant and likes the shade and h...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants for shaded bed and removing bermuda grass.
November 29, 2007 - Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I have two questions. First, the back of our house in Williamson County faces north. We have plant beds (about one foot wide and the length of the house) up against the back w...
view the full question and answer

Native Evergreen for Shady Back Yard in IL
April 16, 2015 - I am looking for a native evergreen to provide bird shelter in my southeast facing small back yard. I would prefer a horizontal juniper but don't know if it could grow in the shade of the 8 or 9 matu...
view the full question and answer

Grass for dense shade in Simpsonville SC
May 12, 2010 - We live in Simpsonville, SC. Our back yard leads back into very dense woods. It is extremely shady, virtually no direct sun for any length of time. We have a hard time growing grass here. What type of...
view the full question and answer

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