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
1 rating

Thursday - February 12, 2009

From: Decatur, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Plants for a condo garden in Decatur GA
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I recently moved into a condo in Decatur (just outside Atlanta). I am now working on the back yard - just a patio and dirt right now. It is a small space and is shaded much of the day but does get some early and late sun. I would like to plant some shrubs that might flower and would be at least 3 feet tall in the area with morning sun and plant something interesting in the very shady corner. I am wary of azaleas because of their toxicity to dogs. I like the idea of native plants in the hopes that they will be more drought resistant. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

For the part sun area, Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub) might work for you. The flowers of this plant are visually interesting and have a very unusual, spicey fragrance. Other shrubs for that spot might be Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf witchalder), Fothergilla major (mountain witchalder), Illicium floridanum (Florida anisetree), Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire), Morella cerifera (wax myrtle), and Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush).

In the shady spot, Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is pretty in flower and eye-popping in fruit. Other possibilities are Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle), Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow), Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark) and Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood).

 

More Shrubs Questions

Toxicity of non-native red-tip photinia to fish from Friendswood TX
April 10, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have seen several questions on Red Tip Photinia (RTP) concerning toxicity to horses, dogs and children. We recently lost over 100 gold fish and 6 large KOI in our man made back ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for area near saltwater pool near Dallas
May 25, 2009 - Could you recommend perennial plants that would do well next to my saltwater pool just north of Dallas (Corinth) Texas?
view the full question and answer

Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
May 01, 2011 - What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
view the full question and answer

Will desert rose (Rosa stellata) survive in south Florida
July 30, 2008 - I have a mature desert rose and I wanted to plant it in the ground. I live in southwest Florida.I want to know will it survive and should I wait to plant it next year?
view the full question and answer

Shrub Recommendation for Chain Link Fence in DE
January 26, 2016 - What shrub would you recommend for covering a chain link fence and providing a screen between mine & my neighbors yard? They have kids, so it would have to be non-toxic. I'd like flowers/berries for ...
view the full question and answer

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