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
Not Yet Rated

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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.

GROUNDCOVERS

Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina springbeauty)

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox)

Phlox subulata (moss phlox)

SHRUBS

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)

Rhododendron calendulaceum (flame azalea)

GRASS, GRASS-LIKE

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)


Claytonia caroliniana

Phlox stolonifera

Phlox subulata

Ceanothus americanus

Kalmia latifolia

Rhododendron calendulaceum

Bouteloua curtipendula

Schizachyrium scoparium

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
view the full question and answer

Low-growing plants for a slope in the shade
July 08, 2013 - Hello, I'm looking for native plants to put in the shade (within the drip-line) of a well-established American Holly. The area gets deep shade; it is also on a very gentle north-exposure slope. We ...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance, shade tolerant groundcover for Pacific Northwest
August 09, 2012 - What's a good low maintenance, shade tolerant ground cover for the Pacific Northwest? It needs to have good erosion control, too.
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control for Shady Ditches
January 24, 2013 - What plants can you recommend for erosion control along shady ditches in Northwest Indiana?
view the full question and answer

Native Evergreen for Shady Back Yard in IL
April 16, 2015 - I am looking for a native evergreen to provide bird shelter in my southeast facing small back yard. I would prefer a horizontal juniper but don't know if it could grow in the shade of the 8 or 9 matu...
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