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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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Thursday - July 25, 2013

From: Grapeland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Grapeland, TX is NOT Grapevine, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I submitted a question and today received my answer. I do thank you for this valuable service. However, I stated that I lived in East Texas in GRAPELAND, Tx. Nan Hampton answered me and said that although I said I lived in East Texas the county I lived in (Tarrant) was actually north central. Yes, that is correct but I DO NOT live in Tarrant County, I live in Grapeland, Texas which is in Houston County ( not to be confused with the city of Houston). My question now is do the suggestions she provided still apply? My problem is that the area in question gets only sun during the middle of the day - directly overhead, it is shaded in the morning and the afternoon. I have tried several plants that say shade, partial shade, and some sun but since this area gets several hours of direct hot sun none of what I have tried works. Sorry there was any confusion.

ANSWER:

Please accept my apologies!  You wrote GRAPELAND, but I obiously read GRAPEVINE as your address in your question.  Very sorry about that.  There are some plants that I recommended for "Grapevine" that will work for "Grapeland" but you are definitely in East Texas and we should be looking at the Texas-East Recommended list.  You do have a unique situation with your available sunlight.  We'll see what we can find that might work.   I can't guarantee anything, but I can make suggestions.   As well as Light Requirement, you should read the requirements of the other criteria under GROWING CONDITIONS to be sure that they match your site. 

On the Texas-East Recommended list I used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option and chose both "Part Shade" and "Shade" under Light Requirement and "Herb" from General Appearance.  This gives you 30 choices.  I am going to recommend some that are pretty "reliable", but again they need to be compatible with the other growing conditions at your site.  All the herbs are shown on the USDA Plants Database as occurring in Houston County

 Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed) is perennial.

Conoclinium coelestinum (Blue mistflower) is perennial.

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot) is perennial.

Phlox pilosa (Downy phlox) is perennial.

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan) is considered an annual or a short-lived perennial.

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage) can be either annual or perennial.

Next, I left "Partial Shade" and "Shade" chosen and selected "Shrub" under General Appearance.  This gives you 22 choices.  With the exception of two of these (Turk's cap and Coralberry) that occur in counties adjacent to Houston, all the shrubs have been reported to grow in Houston County.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) is evergreen.  It can be pruned to size and there are also dwarf varieties available.

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap) is shown growing in adjacent Walker County and Angelina County but not shown in Houston County.

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle) is evergreen and can be pruned.   There are also dwarf varieties available.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) is shown as occurring in adjacent Walker County, Madison County and Anderson County.

There are other choices on the list.  Not all of them occur in Houston County according to the USDA Plants Database.   That doesn't necessarily mean that they are absent from the county—they just haven't been officially reported.   I would think that any plant reported in a county adjacent to Houston County would stand a good chance of doing well there.   You can determine the county distribution of any of the plants on the list by clicking on the link for the plant on the list.  This will take you to the species page in our Native Plant Database. Scroll down the species page to the section near the bottom called Additional Resources.  Click on the USDA link there and then click on Texas on the distribution map on the USDA Plants Database page to see a county distribution map for Texas.   If you click on that map again, the names of the counties will be shown on the map.

You can find the names and contact information for nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants in our National Suppliers Directory.  You can also find a list of sources for native plants from the Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas.

I'm sure that you realize that in the heat of summer is not a good time sow seeds or to plant.  You can read our Gardening Timeline for advice on when to plant various seeds and do other gardening activities.  Shrubs should be planted in the fall after the temperature has gone down from the summer heat or in spring after threat of frost but before the summer heat.

 

From the Image Gallery


Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Blue mistflower
Conoclinium coelestinum

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Downy phlox
Phlox pilosa

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Turk's cap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

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