En Español

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

Friday - February 01, 2008

From: New City, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Suggestion for plants to replace grass in semi-shade in NY
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an area that is in semi-shade but gets about 4-5 hours of sunlight in the summer. Instead of grass I would like to perhaps use wild flowers or even prairie type grasses. Any suggestions??

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants can recommend several ornamental prairie-type grasses that should do well in your partial shade. These can grow to 3 feet tall or more.

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

You might also consider one of the sedges. The following sedges are found in New York.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Another possibility is to use ferns.

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

Finally, here are some flowering plants that should do well in the area.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Geranium maculatum (spotted geranium)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Tiarella cordifolia (heartleaf foamflower)

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England aster)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

You can also find a list of New York Recommended plants on our web page for more possibilities.


Andropogon virginicus

Elymus canadensis

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Schizachyrium scoparium

Carex blanda

Carex pensylvanica

Carex texensis

Dryopteris marginalis

Polystichum acrostichoides

Osmunda cinnamomea

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Geranium maculatum

Mitchella repens

Tiarella cordifolia

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Rudbeckia hirta

Phlox divaricata

Aquilegia canadensis

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Colorful flowering plants in shade of live oak in Louisiana
November 29, 2013 - What colorful flowering plants can be grown near the shady base of live oak trees in the Deep South?
view the full question and answer

Part shade garden to attract hummingbirds in Texas
July 14, 2008 - We are inexperienced gardeners. We have a bed (2.5' x 6') with sun in the morning and shade in afternoon and want to attract hummingbirds. Salvia coccinea sounds easy, but what else could we plant...
view the full question and answer

Tough grasses for shade
November 24, 2010 - What kind of grass/groundcover can I put in our backyard that is shady/dry and has 50 lb. high energy dog traffic? Was considering Horse Herb but not sure, as it sounds like you can't get rid of it,...
view the full question and answer

Shrub for Shady Austin, Texas Backyard
July 11, 2016 - I am looking for a colorful shrub or bush for my drab backyard in Austin. It won't get much sun and I want something native that detracts bugs if possible.
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant Wildflowers for Oklahoma City
April 16, 2012 - I live in Oklahoma City. I'm not in town very often, and am seeking low maintenance plants. I have MANY trees in my backyard, which makes it quite shady. I have raised beds amongst my rock garden ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center