En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
2 ratings

Tuesday - May 06, 2008

From: Argyle, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Soils, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants for full sun and clay soil in NY
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We live in upstate new york( zone 5) with full sun and clay soil. What flowers/flowering shrubs would be successful in this environment?


There are two routes to an answer to your question. First, we can go to the Recommended Species page and pick New York. This will give you a list of commercially available native plants suitable for landscaping. You can then browse through the more than 100 species listed and learn about their growth requirements.

You can also go to the Native Plant Database and do a Combination Search choosing New York under "All states and provinces" and choosing "Sun - 6 or more hours of sun per day" under "Light requirement". This will give you nearly 800 plants to look through. You can check the soil type under "Growing Conditions" on each species page.

This will give you to opportunity to do your own choosing, but I will recommend a few favorites:

Shrubs/small trees

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Prunus virginiana (chokecherry)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Shepherdia argentea (silver buffaloberry)

Herbaceous plants

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Amorpha fruticosa

Ceanothus americanus

Lindera benzoin

Physocarpus opulifolius

Rhus aromatica

Shepherdia argentea

Prunus virginiana

Achillea millefolium



Conoclinium coelestinum

Coreopsis lanceolata

Lobelia siphilitica

Lobelia cardinalis

Monarda fistulosa

Rudbeckia hirta

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Is Evolvulus nuttallianus native to Central Texas and Deer Resistant?
June 11, 2015 - The website doesn't have much information about blue daze (Evolvulus nuttallianus. Is this plant native to Central Texas? Is it deer-resistant?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on Fan Scarlet-Cardinal
September 02, 2005 - I have a lobelia x speciosa (Fan Scarlet-Cardinal) plant and was wondering if I should dead head it after blossoming so that the plant continues to flower. Can you help? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Does a cenizo really predict rain in Austin?
July 18, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, folklore has it that the flowering of Cenizo (aka Barometer Bush) is a predictor of rain fall. The Cenizo in South Austin is blooming profusely right now. Does this portend a Noac...
view the full question and answer

Will non-native hostas do well in South Carolina from Seneca SC
May 20, 2013 - I am moving to SC from CT and want to bring some of the hostas I grow in CT. If I plant them in the shade in SC, will they do well down there?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers in Bloom in Hudson Valley NY in July
May 19, 2015 - We are hosting a rustic wedding on July 11, and we would like to decorate with wildflowers. We live in rural NY state, in the Mid-Hudson Valley, and there are many sites from which to pick wildflowers...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center