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
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

Growing non-vascular moss as a lawn from Seattle WA
July 27, 2013 - I have lots of moss in my back yard. How can I encourage it to grow over the whole yard?
view the full question and answer

Green roof plants tolerating shade
July 01, 2006 - I am researching extensive greenroof plants for a potential site in Austin. The roof surface is shaded for most days of the the year. Are there any top choices for plants for this condition?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen flowering shrub for San Antonio, TX
May 20, 2013 - Need a suggestion for an evergreen flowering bush, 3 ft tall for shady area by front door. Have gardenia bushes there now - did well until we had a hard freeze and have struggled ever since. Ideas ple...
view the full question and answer

Shrub for part shade for hedge in Holly Ridge NC
April 07, 2010 - We live in Coastal NC. We would like a type of shrub for the front of our home which is partial shade, similar style to a boxwood or trainable hedge. What NC native would compare?
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for shade in Boone NC
July 05, 2011 - I have a totally shaded area with tall trees and want to plant some native shade wildflowers beneath the trees. It is fairly level. I'd like perennial flowers. I noticed Flaming Azalea was one opti...
view the full question and answer

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