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?

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
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
1 rating

Sunday - May 18, 2008

From: Fitchburg, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Native plants for gravesite in North Central Massachusetts
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in North Central Mass. Would like to plant something on my parents gravesite that would not be invasive or require a lot of care. Any suggestions? I just took 2 shrubs out that had become way overgrown so don't really want any more shrubs.

ANSWER:

We're assuming you did not want to plant trees there, and we don't know what the conditions are: wet, dry, sun, shade, etc. so you will need to click on the Latin name of each plant we suggest to see what conditions that plant can tolerate.

First, we're going to look for some herbaceous perennial plants that might work for you. You can look at the whole list by clicking on Recommended Species in the drop-down menu under "Explore Plants" and click on the state in the US map. Click on "Narrow Your Search", then Massachusetts and ask for herbs as the habit and perennial for duration. You can also designate amount of sun exposure and soil moisture, which we couldn't do. From this list, we selected eight, including a couple of ferns in case it's shady, that we thought would work for you.

Now, if you want something that will hold its place and have some appearance year-round, especially in Massachusetts, you might reconsider shrubs. Again, we'll go to Recommended Species and repeat the search criteria, this time asking for shrubs. We went through that list and chose five that are low growing and slow growing, and so shouldn't get out of bounds. Of course, we're recommending native plants because we already know they can grow there, and therefore, won't need as much care as imported exotics.

Finally, go to Suppliers in the same drop-down menu, type in the name and state you live in on the Location Search line, and you will get a list of native plant suppliers in your area.

HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS

Anaphalis margaritacea (western pearly everlasting) - 1-3 ft. tall, blooms June to October

Desmodium canadense (showy ticktrefoil) - 2-6 ft. tall, blooms June - September

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) - trailing evergreen, up to 2 ft. tall, blooms June to August

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot) - 1 to 3 ft., blooms May to September

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern) - evergreen, up to 6 ft.

Phlox subulata (moss phlox) - evergreen, forms mat, blooms March to June

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) - evergreen, 1 t 2 ft. tall

Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern) - evergreen, 2 to 8 ft. tall. Pictures of Ostrich fern

SHRUBS

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick) - evergreen, low and spreading 1 to 3 ftl tall

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda (shrubby cinquefoil) deciduous, 3 to 4 ft.

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry) - evergreen, 1 to 3 ft.

Rosa acicularis (prickly rose) - up to 4 ft. tall, deciduous

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry) - deciduous, 1 to 3 ft. tall


Anaphalis margaritacea

Desmodium canadense

Mitchella repens

Monarda fistulosa

Osmunda cinnamomea

Phlox subulata

Polystichum acrostichoides

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda

Gaultheria procumbens

Rosa acicularis

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Hummingbird Bushes for Broken Arrow OK
August 27, 2014 - I am looking for bushes that attract hummingbirds. I live in Broken Arrow, OK. Can you recommend some?
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrubs with red berries in Connecticut
June 24, 2010 - In my yard there are bushes about 4 1/2' tall with red berries. The berries are bright red and somewhat translucent with striations visible through the skin.I thought they were gooseberries perhaps, ...
view the full question and answer

Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
view the full question and answer

Shrub that does not attract birds in Michigan
June 17, 2009 - Does a "Center Glow" ninebark have seeds? I want a shrub that does NOT attract birds!
view the full question and answer

Replacing yellow bells with hibiscus from San Antonio
July 03, 2012 - Help! Will the roots of the yellow bells keep sprouting if I've removed the shrub? I'm replacing it with a hibiscus shrub. Will it do well in the same spot where the yellow bells were?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center