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
2 ratings

Saturday - September 13, 2008

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Shaded Trellis Plants for Georgetown TX
May 14, 2011 - What native plants work well on a trellis that will be placed in an area that remains shaded most of the day?
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for high canal bank in Florida
May 27, 2009 - My home is on a canal to a natural lake in Central Florida (Orlando area). I am wondering if there is a wildflower that I can grow on a 3' high canal bank that is mostly shady.
view the full question and answer

Native alterrnatives for Bermuda grass in shade
July 30, 2007 - I have Bermuda Tif 419 on my lawn. As expected, there are small areas in the shade that the Bermuda is not doing well in. What would happen if I spread Zoysia seed in those shady areas? Would it gro...
view the full question and answer

Native vine for shade on west side in Texas
July 21, 2008 - I have just put in a trellis to cover the west side of my house for shade. What would be the best native vine to put their for quick growth. I plan on putting a rose (Fortunia) but can't do that till...
view the full question and answer

Understory Shrubs for Pennsylvania Clay
December 04, 2013 - I want to replace three non-native Euonymus alatus with native shrubs that will serve as host plants for butterfly/moth species and/or attract bumblebees and other native bees. The shrubs I have are ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center