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Mr. Smarty Plants - Dwarf native plants for shade in Burlington, MA

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Saturday - May 02, 2009

From: Burlington, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Dwarf native plants for shade in Burlington, MA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I removed all of the evergreen shrubs in front of my house in Zone 6. It is in full shade all summer but has some sun during the spring because of a huge beech tree in front yard. there is 2 8' x4' garden area's separated by 5 foot stairs. I want dwarf native plants. Any suggestions? I do not want rhododendron's and I left two azalea bushes one of each side of the stairs(white and purple), which I can move to start new. thankyou in advance

ANSWER:

We will certainly try to find some shrubs that will live in full shade (less than 2 hours of sun daily) in your area. However, we can't guarantee that there will be dwarf selections of those plants. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are focused on the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown. Therefore, our Native Plant Database, when we select for shrubs, part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun daily) to shade (less than 2 hours of sun) and Massachusetts, will list appropriate shrubs for that much shade and your climate, but not the dwarf selections. We will attempt, after we locate appropriate plants, to see if any dwarves of those plants have been bred and if they are commercially available. As it turned out, only one plant was evergreen, Galium proliferum (limestone bedstraw), and it and two others,  Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea) and Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort) grow to less than 3 ft. tall. We could find no dwarf versions of the larger shrubs, but included them in case you had other spots where you could use them.

Shrubs for shade iin Burlington, MA

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea) - deciduous to 3 ft. tall, blooms white March and April, medium water use, part shade or shade

Cornus alternifolia (alternateleaf dogwood) - deciduous, 20 to 35 ft. tall, blooms white May and June, medium water use, part shade or shade

Galium proliferum (limestone bedstraw) - evergreen, low, woody ground cover, blooms white, pink June to August, low water use, part shade to shade

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort) - deciduous to 3 ft tall, blooms yellow June to August, high water use, part shade or shade

Rosa palustris (swamp rose) - deciduous, 6 to 8 ft. tall, blooms pink May and June, medium water use, part shade or shade

Viburnum lentago (nannyberry) - deciduous, 20 to 25 ft., blooms white in May, medium water use, sun, part shade or shade


Ceanothus americanus

Cornus alternifolia

Gaultheria procumbens

Hypericum prolificum

Rosa palustris

 

 

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