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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - June 22, 2009

From: Hawley, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Hardy plant with minimal care for shade in dry soil
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a weekend house in Hawley, PA where I try to garden - often with poor results. There is a spot on the northeast corner of my foundation where I have put plant after plant - but none of them survive the winter. The corner gets minimum sun and is at the top of a slight slope. I need a hardy, plant that need minimum care (only there on weekends) and is good in dry soil. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

If you visit our Native Plant Database, you can do a COMBINATION SEARCH to help you find suitable plants for your site.  Just choose Pennsylvania from the Select State or Province category, 'Shade - ' from Light requirement, 'Dry - ' from Soil Moisture and then you can choose the type of plant you want from Habit (general appearance).  Here are a few suggestions for shrubs:

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle)

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Shepherdia canadensis (russet buffaloberry)

Here are some perennial herbaceous plants:

Lycopodium digitatum (fan clubmoss)

Maianthemum stellatum (starry false lily of the valley)

Pteridium aquilinum (western brackenfern)

No matter what plant you choose, it will need watering until its root system is established.


Ceanothus americanus

Diervilla lonicera

Hypericum prolificum

Physocarpus opulifolius

Shepherdia canadensis

Lycopodium digitatum

Maianthemum stellatum

Pteridium aquilinum

 

 

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