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 - 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

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Suggestion for plants to replace grass in semi-shade in NY
February 01, 2008 - I have an area that is in semi-shade but gets about 4-5 hours of sunlight in the summer. Instead of grass I would like to perhaps use wild flowers or even prairie type grasses. Any suggestions??
view the full question and answer

Shade trees for NC
March 22, 2011 - What fast growing non invasive tree would be good to plant in a sub-division that could possibly shade my 2 story house? I would like it to have a tap root system so that it is strong in windy condit...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a shady garden in Wisconsin
June 22, 2009 - I have a shady garden in southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and am interested in introducing more native plants of all sizes and heights, hopefully with lovely flowers. I would love to know what you ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for shade in Dallas
November 30, 2008 - What native grasses can be grown under large Live Oaks in the Dallas Area? The combination of shade and black gumbo soil seem to keep all plant life, except for poison ivy and ferns, out. I would lo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center