Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport 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

Tuesday - February 23, 2010

From: Smithville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Screen plants for part shade in Smithville, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Thank you very much for your reply to my question about planting bamboo. I had no idea it was so invasive. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for me. My goal is to provide a soft and informal screen to enhance a sense of an outdoor room.(There is a 6 foot black privacy fence, but I want to soften the lines). My light is different all over the yard, but I have two large pecan trees that provide mostly shade. I do have sun during the day but it is intermittent. I am looking for a background for future plantings. I prefer less formal to formal. (I do not care for conifers) Our soil here in Smithville is amazing as you probably know already. I would love to "go native" and plant something that is from our area. Suggestions? Thanks in advance.

ANSWER:

It's always nice when our advice is heeded, and we can feel we prevented one stand of invasive bamboo from ever existing. It would appear that what you need are some shrubs native to Central Texas that can thrive in what we call "part shade," which we consider to be 2 to 6 hours a day of sun. Some may not bloom as profusely without full sun, which is 6 or more hours of sun a day, but you are probably not looking for showy blooming from background shrubs. We will go to our Recommended Species section, click on Central Texas on the map, and search for shrubs could suit your purpose as a loose background screen. By following each link to the page on that plant, you will be able to learn how big they can be expected to grow, what level of water use they have, and what soil they prefer.

Background shrubs for Central Texas:

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) -deciduous, 3-5 ft. tall, blooms white, pink May to July, rose or lavender fruit, berrylike, persists after leaves fall

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - evergreen, 12+ ft., blooms white April and May, low water use

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - evergreen with gray-blue leaves, 2 to 8 ft., gorgeous pinky-lavender blooms intermittently year-round, low water use

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) - 8 to 12 ft., semi-evergreen, blooms white, yellow July and August, low water use

Senna lindheimeriana (velvet leaf senna) - 3 to 6 ft., deciduous, blooms yellow August to October, low water use

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - evergreen, 6 to 12 ft., blooms green March and April, high water use

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) - evergreen, 1-15 ft., blooms blue, purple February and March, low water use

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callicarpa americana

Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Rhus virens

Senna lindheimeriana

Morella cerifera

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for a Septic Field in NC
August 14, 2013 - What kinds of low water plants can I plant over a new septic field in North Carolina? The area is part sun so I am concerned about having trouble getting grass started.
view the full question and answer

Oak leaf hydrangeas from Edwardsville IL
August 13, 2012 - Hello, I live in West Central Illinois (across the river from St. Louis) and I am considering planting several Oak leaf Hydrangea's in my yard. The location where I would like to plant them is und...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for shade under oaks in San Antonio
May 04, 2013 - I have been modifying my landscape to reduce grass and the need for frequent watering. Have turned half the backyard into native plants garden with hardscape and sitting areas. Have 2 mature Monterey ...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a Shaded Patio Container in Missouri
April 17, 2015 - What kind of native plants would grow well in a pot on a fully shaded patio? I live in Kansas City, Missouri. The patio faces north and doesn't get any direct sunlight, but it gets lots of indirect...
view the full question and answer

Plants for dry shade in West Virginia
April 22, 2010 - I live in Mannington, WV and I am wanting to do some landscaping. The area that I would like to plant in is very dry and gets little to no sunlight. I would like to plant something that will come back...
view the full question and answer

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