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
1 rating

Monday - June 15, 2009

From: Enville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Edible plants in shade in Enville TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a flower bed against the back of my house with nothing in it. We moved into this house late last year and I was planning on planting some tomato plants there until I discovered it never gets any direct sun. Is there any type of edible or fruit bearing plant I can grow there since it's nice and close to the house.

ANSWER:

Many fruits and vegetables are not native to North America and/or have been so extensively hybridized and therefore not recognizable as natives. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the care, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. A plant native to an area will already be adapted by millennia of experience to the soil, climate and rainfall of that area, and will need less fertilizer, water and maintenance. For the site you are referring to, you apparently need something that we would classify as "shade," or less than 2 hours of sun a day.  "Sun" is considered 6 or more hours of sun daily, and "part shade" 2 to 6 hours of sun. We went to our Native Plant Database, and found these plants that are native to Tennessee, would grow in the specified amount of sun, and are considered edible. Please follow the plant links and read about each plant; all are perennials, some are considered more edible for wildlife than people, and many are very prickly bushes.

Fragaria vesca (woodland strawberry) - blooms white May to August, part shade to shade

Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) - blooms white, pink May to July, part shade or shade

Rubus allegheniensis (Allegheny blackberry) - blooms white in June, sun, part shade or shade - pictures

Rubus canadensis (smooth blackberry) - blooms white June to July, sun, part shade or shade

Rubus idaeus (American red raspberry) - blooms white June and July, sun, part shade or shade - pictures

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry) - blooms white May and June, sun, part shade or shade

Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) -  blooms white, pink May and June, sun, part shade or shade


Fragaria vesca

Gaylussacia baccata

Rubus canadensis

Vaccinium angustifolium

Vaccinium corymbosum

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
April 09, 2013 - Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
view the full question and answer

Vine for shady planter from Cedar Park TX
April 19, 2014 - We bought a home in Central Texas and inherited several raised-bed planters. One of the planters is set up to grow a vine, but it's in a part of the yard that is mostly in the shade of a tree. Is t...
view the full question and answer

Grass for dense shade in Simpsonville SC
May 12, 2010 - We live in Simpsonville, SC. Our back yard leads back into very dense woods. It is extremely shady, virtually no direct sun for any length of time. We have a hard time growing grass here. What type of...
view the full question and answer

Plants for dry shade in West Virginia
April 22, 2010 - I live in Mannington, WV and I am wanting to do some landscaping. The area that I would like to plant in is very dry and gets little to no sunlight. I would like to plant something that will come back...
view the full question and answer

Shade loving plants with color for Irving, Texas
July 01, 2010 - Looking for shade loving perennials or annuals with color - native and low water. Live in Irving, Texas.
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center