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Saturday - September 13, 2008

From: Media, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for shade in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton


i would like to plant a small area in my rear yard, that is full shade in the summer (when the trees are full with leaves) and part shade in early spring. i live on a state park - there are plenty of deer. so.. deer resistant, shade loving, perennial native plants to fill a 20x30 foot area, any suggestions?? thanks.


You can find a list of recommended species for Pennsylvania by visiting our Recommended Species page and choosing Pennsylvania from the map.  When you reach the Pennsylvania Recommended Species page (with a list of commercially available native plants suitable for landscaping) you can choose the Narrow Your Search option and choose "Shade - less than 2 hours of sun per day" and/or "Part shade - 2 to 6 hours of sun per day".  If you choose "Shade...", you will get a ist of more 70 plants.  That done, you need to assess them for deer resistance and you can do that with a list (Deer Tolerant/Resistant Native Plants) from Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Here are a few species that occur on both the deer resistant list and our "recommended species" list for shade plants for Pennsylvania.

Actaea pachypoda (white baneberry) and Actaea rubra (red baneberry)

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Penstemon digitalis (talus slope penstemon)

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox)

Physostegia virginiana (obedient plant)

Polemonium reptans (Greek valerian)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Fern species are also generally deer resistant.  You can find the ferns that are native to Pennsylvania by doing a Combination Search in our Native Plant Database and choosing 'Pennsylvania' from the "Select State or Province" and 'Fern' from "Habit (general appearance)".  Here are a few of Mr. SP's recommendations from these:

Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort)

Athyrium filix-femina (common ladyfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

Remember that "deer resistant" doesn't mean "deer proof".  In stressful conditions (e.g., drought) deer will often eat plants that they would otherwise avoid.

Actaea pachypoda

Actaea rubra

Aquilegia canadensis

Coreopsis lanceolata

Penstemon digitalis

Phlox stolonifera

Polemonium reptans

Physostegia virginiana

Rudbeckia hirta

Asplenium platyneuron

Athyrium filix-femina

Osmunda cinnamomea



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