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
1 rating

Wednesday - April 28, 2010

From: HOUSTON, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Need plants to shade on a west-facing wall in Houston, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What plants are best to provide shade on a west facing wall in Houston. I am looking for plants that help to cool the house.

ANSWER:

There are at least three ways that you might accomplish this; each with its advantages and disadvantages. You might want to consider shade trees, shrubs, or deciduous vines to shade your west facing wall.

Trees are very good shade producers, but it can take a long time before they reach maturity. I am going to refer you to the Texas Tree Planting Guide. If you use the Custom Tree Selector, you can find suggestions for trees that will fit your situation.

Our next option would be shrubs which will also take a while before they can offer much shade, but they have the advantage of producing flowers to brighten the landscape.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Deciduous vines have the advantage of growing fairly rapidly and having flowers. The disadvantage is that you would need to provide some sort of trellis structure for support.

Lonicera sempervirens (trumpet honeysuckle)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Wisteria frutescens (American wisteria)

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine)

I came up with these plant names by going to the Recommended Species page and clicking East Texas on the map. In the Narrow your Search window, select Texas under STATE, shrubs (or vine) under GENERAL APPEARANCE, and perennial under LIFESPAN. Check Sun under LIGHT REQUIREMENT, and moist (or dry) under SOIL MOISTURE. Click the "Narrow Your Search" button, and you will get a list of commercially available plants that match these criteria. Clicking on the name of each plant will pull up its NPIN page with a descriptionof the plant along with its growth requirements and pictures. You can do this search to find other possibilities.


Ilex vomitoria

Lindera benzoin

Rhus virens

Morella cerifera

Lonicera sempervirens

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Wisteria frutescens

Bignonia capreolata

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for narrow moist shade in Dallas
October 05, 2009 - We are looking for plants in a narrow strip next to our house. It is a shady area that holds a lot of water. We would love plants that would help take water out of the soil. Do you have any suggest...
view the full question and answer

Need plants with red flowers to grow in shaded area in yard in Austin.
May 04, 2010 - I have a shaded area where all the shrubs die. I would like to plant some flowers there instead of shrubs. What red flower plants can sustain a lot of shade.
view the full question and answer

Hanging flowering plants in part shade in Denton, TX
September 18, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'd like to hang 4"-6" pots with flowering plants from north-facing eaves. That area gets an hour or so of late-morning/noon sun. Also, my apt. faces a large courtyard so...
view the full question and answer

Decorative Trees for Scenic Bench in Fairhope IL
June 10, 2012 - I am looking for a recommendation for a pair of small trees (does not grow taller than 18-20 feet) that can provide shade on either side of a stone bench. The site is in full sun, western exposure an...
view the full question and answer

Growing mosses in the Pacific Northwest
February 05, 2015 - Can you provide information on types of Mosses as well as Microferns in the Northwest Mountain region near Seattle? I assume that Mosses and Microferns are more resilient to foot traffic (i.e.Cush...
view the full question and answer

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