En Español

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?


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

Tuesday - March 17, 2009

From: Wichita, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants for northern exposure in Wichita, KS
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What are good plants for the north side of the house with acidic soil in Zone 6, Wichita, KS?


The north side of a structure is often considered to be subject to more shade, although you didn't specify that. Since you also didn't specify if you were interested in shrubs or herbaceous flowering plants, we will find a selection that will do well in part shade (2 to 6 hours or of sun a day) or shade (less thans 2 hours of sun a day). We will go to Recommended Species, click on Kansas on the map, and select first for "herb" (herbaceous flowering plants) under Habit, shade or part shade under Light Requirement, and then "shrub" with the same light requirements. You can repeat this process, putting in different light requirements as well as soil moisture, or searching for vines, ferns or grasses. When you follow a plant link to the page on the individual plant, you can check for soil type (as we will), propagation and links to other sources in information on the plant.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends only plants native to North America and to the areas in which the plant grows naturally. Plants grown in their native area will require less fertilizer, water or maintenance to flourish. 


Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Campanulastrum americanum (American bellflower)

Coreopsis palmata (stiff tickseed)

Echinacea angustifolia (blacksamson echinacea)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Ratibida pinnata (pinnate prairie coneflower)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)


Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Amorpha fruticosa (desert false indigo)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)

Asclepias tuberosa

Campanulastrum americanum

Coreopsis palmata

Echinacea angustifolia

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia siphilitica

Ratibida pinnata

Viola sororia

Amelanchier arborea

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Amorpha fruticosa

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus




More Shade Tolerant Questions

Fast-growing shade tree for New Braunfels, Texas
January 29, 2009 - I would like to plant a tree in the back of my property which is located in the Hill Country just north of New Braunfels. Could you please suggest something that is fast growing and will grow in full...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control with perennials for a shady Dallas bank
July 25, 2013 - Thank you for your help with turf or perennials on a shaded bank, 4000 sq ft, for the Dallas area that has good roots, grows in semi shade to shade, is on a steep bank so cannot mow, and flowers the l...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen groundcover under pine tree in NY
May 23, 2008 - Hello! I live in upstate NY. I'm trying to find an evergreen ground cover to plant under a pine tree. I believe it's a white spruce (but I'm not postive). I've read conflicting information reg...
view the full question and answer

Shade Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
March 15, 2013 - What is the best shade-tolerant grass? What is the best shade-tolerant ground cover?
view the full question and answer

Native turkscap failing to thrive in Shiro TX
March 19, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Two years ago I transplanted several native (not cultivars) Drummond's turkscaps in the proximity of water oaks in the front yard. All get shade and some sun. They seemed to ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center