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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

22

 


Conoclinium coelestinum

Coreopsis lanceolata

Lobelia siphilitica

Lobelia cardinalis

Monarda fistulosa

Rudbeckia hirta
 

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