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Wednesday - April 30, 2008

From: Halfmoon, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native shade plants for sandy soil in New York
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have a small patch (about 10 feet x 6 feet) of shady ground next to my house. The soil is very sandy. I really would like some perennial color - or at this point, anything actually - that will grow well in this area (zone 5). I would prefer native species, but will take whatever I can get! Thank you!


We're glad you want native species, because that's all we at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommend. We have a Recommended Species section of our website, from which we have first selected New York, and then herbaceous perennials for 2 or less hours of sun a day. This gave us a list of 27 plants, from which we are going to try to find several that are colorful and will do well in sandy soil. Just in case you need some more variety in height, we also searched for shrubs with the same characteristics. There were 8 recommended, of which only one was evergreen, but that's probably what you expect in Zone 5. From these two lists, we are going to select several of each that will grow in sandy soil and tolerate that much shade. All of them would probably bloom more if there was more than 2 hours of sun a day; our definition of "part shade" is 2 to 6 hours a day. When you're ready to start planting, here is a list of Native Plant Suppliers in your general area.


Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone) - white blooms, April to June

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower - blue, purple blooms June to September

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - yellow blooms April to June

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - red blooms May to October

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia) - blue blooms July to October

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine) - blue, purple blooms May to June

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm) - red blooms July and August

Rudbeckia laciniata (cutleaf coneflower) - yellow July to October


Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry) - evergreen, white, pink blooms June to August

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort) - yellow blooms June to August

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry) - white blooms May, June

Cornus alternifolia (alternateleaf dogwood) - white blooms May, June

Anemone canadensis

Campanula rotundifolia

Coreopsis lanceolata

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia siphilitica

Lupinus perennis

Monarda didyma

Rudbeckia laciniata

Gaultheria procumbens

Hypericum prolificum

Vaccinium angustifolium

Cornus alternifolia




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