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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - May 22, 2009

From: Livonia, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Perennial summer blooming plant for Livonia, MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I want to find a plant that I can cut back in the fall, will come back in the spring, flower throughout the summer, be a medium size plant, no taller than 48", about 36" in diameter. It would get full sun in the morning but afternoon time the shade kicks in. What plant/perennial can I plant? Something with color and full.

ANSWER:

Ordinarily, when we speak of perennials, we are thinking of herbaceous flowering plants that bloom, set seed, die back to the ground in winter, and re-emerge from the roots in the spring. Your specifications sound more like a blooming bush, which would likely be deciduous, losing its leaves in the fall, but could be of the size you want. We will go to our Recommended Species for Michigan, and search on "shrub" under habit, "part shade" (from 2 to 6 hours of sun a day) under Light Requirements and bloom times of June, July and August. That won't mean the plants we find will bloom all summer, but will bloom at some point during those months. We will list these for you and then you can follow the plant links to the individual pages on each individual plant, learn what size it can be expected to reach, colors, etc. When we ran this search, we got 17 results, and chose 4 that came closest to your specifications. You can repeat the process, using different specifications and make your own choices. Most of these shrubs will benefit from some pruning back in the fall, but some may be better pruned in the spring after they have bloomed. Your USDA Hardiness Zone appears to be Zone 5b (average annual minimum temperature of -20 to -15 deg. F) so any plant recommended for Michigan should be all right in Wayne County in Southeastern Michigan. 

Blooming shrubs for Michigan

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) - evergreen, 6 to 12 ft., blooms white, pink from June to September, high water use, part shade or shade

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle) - deciduous, to 3 ft. tall, blooms red, orange, yellow, purple June to August, low water use, part shade or shade

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

Spiraea alba (white meadowsweet) - deciduous, 3 to 6 ft. tall, blooms white June to September, medium water use, sun, part shade or shade


Cephalanthus occidentalis

Diervilla lonicera

Hypericum prolificum

Spiraea alba

 

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Failure of older branches on Bauhinia lunarioides to thrive
April 27, 2008 - We planted a sapling of the Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) winter (Jan, Feb?) and now it has leaves and blooms - but only off of new branches near its trunk, as the old branches haven't ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel
November 12, 2009 - How much can I prune a 10 year old mountain laurel to re-shape it and when?
view the full question and answer

Poverty plant overgrown in Austin
June 06, 2012 - We have a poverty plant that is too big for its space in our yard. We like it and want to keep it. Can it be transplanted easily? What about pruning it.
view the full question and answer

Rocky Mountain Juniper Grazed by Deer
April 29, 2013 - I have four Colorado red cedar (Juniperus scopulorum). The deer have eaten from their height down. Now these narrow top to bottom evergreens have only tops left. Will the bottom fill in if I protect t...
view the full question and answer

Climbing options for a Coral honeysuckle in Austin Texas
April 16, 2013 - Regarding Coral honeysuckle, what is the best support to encourage continued spread, chicken-wire/fencing? Currently the plants and vines are on fencing and beginning to fold over. I'd like to add...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center