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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - July 23, 2013

From: Grapeland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants for shaded area in East Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in East Texas and have an area that is shaded most of the day - it only gets sun in the middle of the day but it is direct. What would be best? I would prefer something that won't freeze, but it is a fairly well protected area. Annuals or small shrubs would fit here. There is a well established passion vine on the fence close by.

ANSWER:

On our Recommended Species page you will find a map of the United States with the states outlined so that you click on them to find lists of recommended native plants that are commercially available for landscaping in each state.  Although you consider yourself in East Texas, our map puts your county (Tarrant) in North Central Texas.  If you click on that area (North Central Texas) you will get a list of plants that are commercially available for landscaping for your area.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose the criteria you want.   For instance, under Light Requirement, choose "Shade–2 hrs or less" and under General Appearance you could choose "Herb", "Subshrub" or "Shrub".  Here are some possibilities that I found doing this search:

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine) is a perennial herb.

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower) is a perennial herb.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan) is an annual herb.

Salvia regla (Mountain sage) is a small deciduous shrub.

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is an evergreen shrub/small tree.  There are dwarf varieties and it can be pruned to size.

 Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) is a deciduous shrub.  There are dwarf varieties of this shrub, too.

If your site qualifies as partial shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day), there are many more choices, such as:

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) is a perennial herb.

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower) is a perennial herb.

There are also more herbs and shrubs for partial shade.

For each of these species you should read the GROWING CONDITIONS on their species page to see if they agree with the conditions at your site.

You can find nurseries in your area that specialize in native plants in our National Suppliers Directory.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Mountain sage
Salvia regla

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

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