Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Sunday - January 16, 2005

From: Adrian, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native perennials for moist shade in Missouri
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live near Adrian, Mo (s of KC by an hour). I currently have a small hillside that is covered by trees and shaded all day and also seems to hold moisture really well. The hill seems to grow a little bit of grass but mostly tall weeds that I weedeat once or twice a year. My questions are 1) is there a wildflower I could plant that would survive year after year based on these conditions; and 2) if there is, can I plant in the spring?

ANSWER:

There are several perennials that come to mind that will thrive in the shade and in moist soil and are native Missouri. Here are several suggestions: red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), red trillium (Trillium sessile), and the hooded blue violet (Viola sororia). In the Native Plants Database on the Wildflower Center's web page you can use the Advanced Search mode to search for more flowers that are native to Missouri by using a variety of criteria, e.g., Bloom Characteristics, Growth Form, etc. This will give you a list of flowers with thumbnail sketches. When you see one that appeals to you, select it and you will get a page with information about the plant. At the top of the information page is a menu bar listing several choices: Taxonomy, Benefits, Bloom, Growing Conditions, etc. If you choose Growing Conditions, you can find suggestions for propagation, seed collection, and seed treatment.

You can find suppliers of native plants in your area on the Wildflower Center web page by selecting "Explore Plants" from the side bar and then choosing "Suppliers Directory". You will then be able to search "Nurseries" and/or "Seed Companies" for suppliers of native plants in your state or region.
 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
December 10, 2012 - Half of my small yard is in the shade of one big live oak and one kumquat. Nothing I plant grows in this shade. The other half of my yard gets sunlight. It is planted with Jasmine grass which grows w...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for small pots in sun in Austin
January 24, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! We are renting our house, so while we have a yard, the landlord would prefer us to only add plants to his landscaping in pots. I have filled some large ones, but have been una...
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Shade tree for El Paso, Texas
May 18, 2010 - hi there, I am looking to plant a shade tree in front of my house, about 10ft away from my house and about 6ft away from the sidewalk. I live in El Paso TX and I am afraid that the tree roots will int...
view the full question and answer

Shade-loving Grass for the Houston area
February 09, 2011 - I have an ash tree that completely shades the majority of our front yard and is not allowing the St. Augustine grass to grow. Is there a shade-loving grass good for the Houston area?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.