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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 15, 2008

From: Brooklyn, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Shade Tolerant, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Japanese maple in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it really true that rhododenren require morning sun? I want to plant 2 of them in areas that get 1-2 hours sun in the in the late afternoon. Thanks VERY Much!

ANSWER:

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map shows that Brooklyn is either in Zone 7a or 6b. The average minimal temperatures are 0 to 5° F for 7a and -5° to 0 F for 6b.

Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) as the name suggests is native to Asia, not North America. Since our area of expertise is plants native to North America we can't really furnish you with firsthand knowledge about the growing requirements of Japanese maple, but we're happy to point you to some information that can help you. Information from Ohio State University and The Garden Helper indicates that the Japanese maple does well in light or partial shade. Some cultivars will tolerate full sun. WorldPlants.com indicates that there are also cultivars that will do well in shade.

We are a bit more knowledgeable about Rhododendrons since there are more than 25 species native to North America and 8 of those are native to New York:

Rhododendron arborescens (smooth azalea)

Rhododendron calendulaceum (flame azalea)

Rhododendron canadense (rhodora)

Rhododendron lapponicum (Lapland rosebay)

Rhododendron maximum (great laurel)

Rhododendron periclymenoides (pink azalea)

Rhododendron prinophyllum (early azalea)

Rhododendron viscosum (swamp azalea)

All of these will grow in partial shade although several hours of sun per day will probably keep them from becoming 'leggy' and will also produce more blooms. Morning sun is preferable to afternoon sun—the disadvantage of the afternoon sun compared to morning sun is the elevated temperature that accompanies the afternoon sun. Since your area receives very little afternoon sun and temperatures are generally not extreme where you live, I would think that your rhododentrons would do fine. Here are some general tips from Flower Gardening Made Easy.


Rhododendron arborescens

Rhododendron calendulaceum

Rhododendron canadense

Rhododendron lapponicum

Rhododendron maximum

Rhododendron periclymenoides

Rhododendron prinophyllum

Rhododendron viscosum

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plant to cover retaining wall in Carlisle PA
August 01, 2010 - I have a block retaining wall in my back yard. I need to find a quick growing plant that will grow through late summer into fall and cover the wall with limited sunlight.
view the full question and answer

Small shrub for Point Richmond CA
August 19, 2013 - I'm looking for a plant that grows 4-6 feet tall, but not too wide (more than 2-3 feet). I'd like it to be flowering (any color but white and preferably not red). It will be located between a salvi...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs that can be pruned to shape in Austin, TX
March 31, 2008 - We have some shrubs in our NE facing front yard in Austin in the Steiner Ranch Area. The shrubs are native, and give good flowers in spring and summer, but are not trimmable and I want something like ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for privacy hedge in New River, AZ.
June 05, 2012 - Hi! I live on a acre that is fenced and cross-fenced with 6' chain link. I am desperate to find a drought tolerant, very low water, non-toxic, fast growing privacy hedge or vine that I can plant arou...
view the full question and answer

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