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

Choice of shade trees from the City of Austin
March 29, 2011 - I have a choice of three shade trees from the city of Austin. They are Live Oak, Elm, Cedar. Although I am happy to have a free tree, I think the choices are not the best for my home. I have a small ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant privacy fence for shade in Hill Country
April 28, 2009 - I am looking for a shrub to plant along a privacy fence that gets 8+ feet tall, fast growing, preferably native, deer resistant, and can tolerate mostly shade. I reside in the Hill Country area. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtle or cherry laurel in Austin?
November 15, 2009 - For a very shady area under a large old oak tree with oak toxic soil, would a Wax Myrtle or a Cherry Laurel (caroliniana) be better? Looking for an evergreen screening tree up to 20ft, but it only get...
view the full question and answer

What habitat would my Antennaria solitaria like in Red Bank, TN?
October 26, 2010 - I want to know what habitat my mystery plant will like- sun, shade, dry or moist. I think it is an Antennaria solitaria or Little Pussytoes. I got it at a native plant sale here in Chattanooga. It has...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a shaded flower bed in OK City
May 29, 2011 - Here in Oklahoma City we have a flower bed west of our house, shaded all day by the house next door except for 2-3 hours of direct sun from the west. I have struggled with what bushes to plant there....
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