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Friday - April 04, 2008

From: Media/Swarthmore, PA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native plants for partial shade in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Much of my growing area in Northern exposure, shade-partial shade once trees get leaves. I'm looking for native plants to use for screens and for ground-covers, grasses and edible plants.


To begin with the last item you asked for, any plant is edible, especially if you're a deer. However, we suspect you mean vegetables, fruits and herbs, edible by humans. Most of those are either non-native to North America or have been so extensively hybridized as to bear little resemblance to their original form. So, they would be out of our field of expertise at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Beyond that, we will go to our "Recommended Species" section for Pennsylvania, and specify for shrubs, grasses and grasslike plants and look for low-growing flowering plants for groundcovers. We'll list our selections and then you can use the same procedure to find other native plants that might suit you better. We will also specify for 2-6 hours of sun daily.


Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina springbeauty)

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox)

Phlox subulata (moss phlox)


Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)

Rhododendron calendulaceum (flame azalea)


Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Claytonia caroliniana

Phlox stolonifera

Phlox subulata

Ceanothus americanus

Kalmia latifolia

Rhododendron calendulaceum

Bouteloua curtipendula

Schizachyrium scoparium





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