The Q&A Archives: Total Shade Flowers, Drought and Heat Resistant in West Texas

Question: I live in San Angelo, TX, regionally considered part of the "desert Southwest", but this is the last stop before that climate really occurs. Although rainfall is usually limited, trees and grass are plentiful, and I've seen glorious gardens in the area. The soil is clay and (?), with excellent drainage. In fact, it only takes a few days of sun after a rain for the earth to crack.

The areas I want to plant are mostly in total shade or less than three hours sun. What kind of flowers and/or vegetables will grow in this situation. One location has no easy access to water, and is in total shade. Another is easy to water, and gets 2 - 4 hours of sun, depending on the time of year. (In late fall, winter, and spring, the whole area is totally shaded by an oak

I also have an area that would be full sun, but there is a wood privacy fence on the west that blocks the sun in late afternoon, and on the south that blocks it all winter. What will grow best there, including shrubs?

Along the north side there is a 12-ft. utility easement where I would like to plant (on my side of it) a fast growing, evergreen privacy shrub. The area gets no sun until nearly noon, then sporadically through the rest of the day, due to trees.

I know this is a lot of questions, but I'm going to add another two problems into the mix:
1. I am disabled and need plants that are low maintenance (and inexpensive), and
2. the plants must be non-poisonous to horses AND something he won't want to eat (he loves morning glories, roses, and honeysuckle, for instance.)

Thank you so much!
Dusty in San Angelo

Answer: Dusty,

That is a lot for any plant to match. In shade you will find that gardens do not do well at all. It takes sun to produce vegetables. In a shade like you described I would try a beautyberry shrub, Hickley's columbine, Cast Iron plant, and shrimp plant. You may also want to visit with your Extension Agent, Mr. John Begnaud at your County Extension Office about other options.

Thanks for the question. Please stop in again soon!

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