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

Sunday - March 28, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Deer Resistant part shade plants for Austin:
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What evergreen shrubs would you recommend for a partly-shaded area, next to a wall, which can be trimmed to keep their shape and height (for symmetry)..this is for a front gate to a community, so we need two shrubs which will be placed in front of brick columns that are about 3 feet wide and 8 feet tall, flanking the gate. They MUST be deer proof. Native species would be a plus too. Thank you from Austin, Texas!

ANSWER:

You will get recomendations only for native plants from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, because we are dedicated to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. What you will NOT get recommended is deer proof plants, because there simply is no such thing. We have a list of Deer Resistant Plants, from which we will select a few possibilities native to Central Texas, but there are no guarantees. Although this year, with the rains returning, there is more natural browse for the deer, when times are hard they will eat anything that can't get away, thorny, aromatic, or plain stinky-they don't care. So, here are what we consider best bets for your specifications. Very few of these are what you would consider a shrub that can be pruned to a specific shape; most are more open and airy. Follow each plant link to the page on that plant in our Native Plant Database to learn more about it. Three of these plants  are highly resistant to deer, and you may have to make some compromises in shape and size to get that. 

Deer Resistant Plants for Austin:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - moderate resistance, evergreen,can be pruned to shape

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - highly resistant, evergreen, can be pruned but will lose a lot of blooms

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) - highly resistant, evergreen, rigid spreading branches and sharp-spined leaves

Yucca treculeana (Don Quixote's lace) - highly resistant, architectural, but not prunable

From Our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Yucca treculeana

 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Area under live oaks from Austin
October 08, 2012 - We have many live oaks in our mostly shaded half acre. While I have tried to plant mostly native plants, often beneath them, the plants are showered with leathery leaves, acorns and sap, while oak sp...
view the full question and answer

Plant for total shade in Austin Texas
November 18, 2013 - Most of north wall of my house is in total shade. Is there a native that will grow there? The nonnative Cast Iron Plant is thriving and the soil is good. Your list of plants requiring 2 hours or less ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wildlife and trees for shade.
September 29, 2007 - We live in Kempner Texas, our land has mostly cedar trees. We would like to make a wildlife habitat on the back side of our property. Can you recommend plants that will grow in shade to partial sun,...
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Lantana failing to bloom from Tampa FL
October 04, 2012 - I reside in central Florida. I have planted several lantana the orange,red,yellow type. I don't have proper species name. They have been in the ground 3 weeks with 2" of potting soil around root ba...
view the full question and answer

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