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
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

Native ground cover for part shade in Dowagiac MI
June 24, 2009 - Maybe I'm just too picky. I'm trying to make an area that is some what triangular shaped between my house and garage with a tall lattice/privacy fence on one side and walks in the back yard area on...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plants for shady garden in Bastrop
July 02, 2010 - We live in Bastrop, 8 miles west of the Historical district. We have a small flower garden in a shady spot around 25 feet from the back patio of our home. We'd like to find out what native plants, f...
view the full question and answer

Full Shade Plants for Muncy PA
April 10, 2014 - I need a suggestion for almost full shade plants for central Pennsylvania.
view the full question and answer

Plants for oak shade from Whitney TX
December 24, 2012 - I live in Whitney, Texas and have a number of beautiful Live Oak trees in a portion of my yard providing deep shade. Asian Jasmine grows in about 5 ft circle around them and then nothing! I have walk ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreens for privacy in VA
June 24, 2012 - I need fast growing evergreens or large shrubs, flowering or non-flowering, for privacy. They will need to flourish among large oak and hickory trees that are 75 plus years old. We don't want to dama...
view the full question and answer

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