Rent Shop 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 - June 14, 2013

From: Medina, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Drought & Deer Resistant Shrub for Shade in Medina, TX
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We are dedicated to native plants in Medina, but are desperate to find a drought and deer resistant shrub for shade. Would we be too far off base with an oleander bush? We know birds and most butterflies hate them. Please advise.

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants is gratified to hear of your dedication to native plants. Don’t despair – the Wildflower Center has the tools to suggest a number of possible shrubs that are drought resistant and reasonably deer resistant.

First of all, I’m pretty negative on using Oleander.   It does repel birds, butterflies and presumably deer, but do you really want to use a non-native that is poisonous also?  Our attitude about this North African introduction is summarized pretty well in the first part of this earlier response.  

To make some more positive suggestions, the Wildflower Center has built a search capability right into it’s “Recommended Species” page.  As you are in Texas, there are special collections that have been created for our ecoregions.  Medina is in the Edwards Plateau ecoregion.

Then it is simply a process of limiting the search to Shrubs,  “Dry” Soil Moisture, and “Shade” as Light Requirement, and then considering the results.  Deer Resistance is sometimes mentioned as a “BENEFIT”.   When I did this, I was returned five candidates that approach your requirements:
Ceanothus americanus (New jersey tea),
Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon),
Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) [high deer resistance],
Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac),
Sabal minor (Dwarf palmetto) [moderate Deer resistance and an interestingly different choice!]

Hopefully, one of these will be a superior candidate for your shrub!

 

From the Image Gallery


New jersey tea
Ceanothus americanus

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native shrubs or ground cover for north-facing landscape in Ft. Worth
March 23, 2010 - Need native plant ideas for a landscaping bed against the house facing north. Already has 1 Beautyberry but two others died of root rot last year due to incredibly high water table in our area. Old ...
view the full question and answer

Leaves turning brown on geum in Mountlake Terrace WA
July 12, 2010 - Assuming a geum is North American . . . mine are turning brown unlike any time before. They get watered occasionally and then dry out. Is there something special I should be doing for geums? They get ...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees for horses in Merced, CA
January 21, 2011 - I would like to plant some trees to provide shade for horses in the pasture. What native trees are drought resistant (water may be spotty in the summer) yet safe for the animals? I live in the Calif...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for small pots in sun in Austin
January 24, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! We are renting our house, so while we have a yard, the landlord would prefer us to only add plants to his landscaping in pots. I have filled some large ones, but have been una...
view the full question and answer

Watering newly planted woodland plants in VA
June 12, 2011 - How frequently should newly planted, native plants, growing in wooded areas be watered? Is it better to not water at all than to use sprinklers in which case the water rarely saturates the leaf...
view the full question and answer

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