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
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

Plants for a condo garden in Decatur GA
February 12, 2009 - I recently moved into a condo in Decatur (just outside Atlanta). I am now working on the back yard - just a patio and dirt right now. It is a small space and is shaded much of the day but does get s...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for shady small spaces in Houston, TX
June 18, 2006 - What are the best plants and flowers to plant in small spaces in an urban area in Houston, Texas? I have several flower beds that are 3 foot wide and 10-12 foot long that get half day sun. The area...
view the full question and answer

Central Texas plants for dry partial shade
April 17, 2007 - I live in Austin Texas. My front garden area has rocky dry soil with intermittent sunlight and shade, maybe 2 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. Herbs do great. What perennial flowers (for some color) w...
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling plants for a shady Minnesota lakeside
August 11, 2015 - I live about 50 yards from a lake and there is a steep embankment. Recently someone decided to cut the trees off the embankment and now the dirt is eroding off the embankment as well as off my back ya...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade in Pennsylvania
September 13, 2008 - i would like to plant a small area in my rear yard, that is full shade in the summer (when the trees are full with leaves) and part shade in early spring. i live on a state park - there are plenty of...
view the full question and answer

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