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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 15, 2008

From: Tallmadge, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Flowering plants for shade in Ohio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am trying to find flowering plants I can grow in my perennial shade garden. So far I am having a difficult time except for hostas, nettle and myrtle. I need help to get my miniature lilac to bloom.

ANSWER:

First, we hope to clarify what the plants are that are already in your perennial shade garden. Hostas are natives of Japan, China and Korea, large-leaved, beloved of snails and slugs the world over. Nettle, we're a little more puzzled over. There is Lamium maculatum (Spotted deadnettle), a herbaceous plant native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. It bears a superficial resemblance to the unrelated stinging nettles, but do not have stinging hairs and so are harmless or, apparently, "dead." We trust it is the Lamium and not real stinging nettles you have in your garden. The myrtle is another question altogether. In warmer climates, there is the Morella cerifera (wax myrtle), a North American native widely used as either a shrub or small tree, but not normally hardy enough for Ohio. Then, there is Myrtus communis, a culinary herb from the Mediterranean often used in Greek food. Again, doesn't sound hardy enough to be in Ohio.

Next, before we answer your first question, let's address the lilac you want to bloom. Lilacs bloom only for a quick couple of weeks in the Spring; so, if they have already done that, you're not going to get any more blooming until next Spring. The majority of natural lilacs come from Asia. In Europe, they come from the Balkans, France and Turkey. Of course, being non-native to North America, they do not appear in our Native Plant Database, but here is a website from Gardener's Network How to Grow and Care for Lilac Bushes.

So, let's look for some plants that will flower in your shade garden in Ohio, but we're going to recommend only plants native to your area. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are dedicated to the use and care of plants native to North America, and also native to the area in which they will be growing. The reason for this is that native plants, being already used to the environment in which they will be asked to grow, will have less need of water, fertilizer and maintenance and more resistance to pests and diseases. First, we will go to the Recommended Species section of our website, click on Ohio on the map, and then select, separately, herbaceous perennials and shrubs for part shade (2-6 hours of sun a day) to shade (less than 2 hours of sun). You can make your own selections, adding other specifications, like the soil moisture. Fiinally, go to Suppliers, type in your city and state in the Enter Search Location box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape consultants in your general area.

HERBS (Herbaceous perennials)

Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone)

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Delphinium tricorne (dwarf larkspur)

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Rudbeckia laciniata (cutleaf coneflower)

SHRUBS

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)

Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum)


Anemone canadensis

Aquilegia canadensis

Campanula rotundifolia

Coreopsis lanceolata

Delphinium tricorne

Monarda didyma

Lobelia cardinalis

Rudbeckia laciniata

Physocarpus opulifolius

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Viburnum acerifolium

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Erosion control for steep shady hillside in Massachusetts
September 02, 2010 - What would be a good plant for erosion control on a steep, very shady hillside in Massachusetts?
view the full question and answer

Disagreement with HOA on raised beds placed beneath mature oak from Tequesta FL
April 05, 2014 - I have mature 30 year old oak trees on my property and I put a raised bed under each with very good soil and I used pavers for retaining the soil about about 1.5 ft high. I planted a perennial begonia...
view the full question and answer

Small evergreen native shrubs for apartment garden in shade in St. Louis
November 25, 2005 - I live in an apartment in St. Louis, MO, and have a small patch of rocky soil in the stairwell that I would like to plant with a native or natives. The area is entirely shaded, but all the natives I...
view the full question and answer

Need evergreen hedge and groundcover for shade in Carmel, Indiana
September 27, 2010 - Our property is bounded by a fencerow that is wooded and mostly shaded by mulberry and hackberry trees during the growing months. We'd like to create a 5'+ tall evergreen barrier on the property li...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen flowering shrub for San Antonio, TX
May 20, 2013 - Need a suggestion for an evergreen flowering bush, 3 ft tall for shady area by front door. Have gardenia bushes there now - did well until we had a hard freeze and have struggled ever since. Ideas ple...
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