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
4 ratings

Wednesday - April 07, 2010

From: Bethesda, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for erosion of shaded slope in Bethesda MD
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an eastern facing heavily shaded slope in Bethesda, Md. that needs a few good native plants to keep it from eroding. Ferns are not doing well on it. They do much better in the flats. So, anything else would be great especially if it is native.

ANSWER:

We are glad you are asking for native plants because that is all that will ever be recommended to you  by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - plants that are not only native to North America but also to the area in which they are being grown.

The best plants for eroding slopes are native grasses. These are not traditional lawn grasses that will be mowed, but of varying heights and appearances. Their long fibrous roots will hold the soil year round, and reduce runoff. We define "shade" as less than 2 hours of sun a day; that may limit the number of choices of grasses that we have, but we will try. In addition, we will look in our Native Plant Database for some low-growing shade tolerant herbaceous blooming plans and shrubs that could also help with the erosion and be attractive. 

Fortunately, we have an excellent resource for information on the Chesapeake Bay area. Bethesda, at the southwestern tip of Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay in USDA Hardiness Zone 7a, would definitely fall into that area. We suggest you first read the information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Field Office Bay Scapes, to give you some information on the environmental situation there. From the same source, we have a list of in our Special Collections of the Plants of Chesapeake Bay. We will go to that list, use the Narrow Your Search function to select on Maryland, "grasses or grasslike plants" under GENERAL APPEARANCE and "shade" under LIGHT REQUIREMENTS. We will use the same technique to search for "herbs" (herbaceous blooming plants" and "shrubs." Since we will only give you some examples, you can repeat the process and make your own choices. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that particular plant to get more information.

Grasses or Grass-Like Plants for Shade in Bethesda, MD:

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Herbaceous Blooming Plants for Shade in Bethesda, MD: 

Aruncus dioicus (bride's feathers)

Asarum canadense (Canadian wildginger)

Caltha palustris (yellow marsh marigold)

Eupatorium purpureum (sweetscented joepyeweed)

Shrubs for Shade in Bethesda, MD:

Clethra alnifolia (coastal sweetpepperbush)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Rhus typhina (staghorn sumac)

Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum)

From Our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Calamagrostis canadensis

Carex pensylvanica

Chasmanthium latifolium

Sorghastrum nutans

Aruncus dioicus

Asarum canadense

Caltha palustris

Eupatorium purpureum

Clethra alnifolia

Gaultheria procumbens

Rhus typhina

Viburnum acerifolium

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Part sun and part shade
October 19, 2004 - What is the difference between part sun and part shade?
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, shade tolerant plants for Austin, TX
April 16, 2007 - I am looking for plants to put in my front yard--very shaded, and need to be deer resistant. I would love some things in the blue family. Also want blues in my back yard that is a combination of ful...
view the full question and answer

Want salt, shade, drought tolerant plant for Rochester, New York
September 21, 2010 - I am looking for a ground cover plant for western NY to grow on a strip alongside a road that gets very little sun in summer (lots of tree branches shading it). It gets a lot of road salt in winter a...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Vine for San Antonio Trellis
November 23, 2011 - I have a new trellis at the end of my patio on which I want to grow an evergreen vine. The area is fairly shady. I had settled on Carolina Jasmine, but read that it is very toxic which is worrisome ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for heavy clay soil in east Austin
May 02, 2007 - I live in East Austin and have very thick clay soil on my property. I also have a lot of shade and partial sun/shade. Can you suggest some native plant varieties that are well-adapted to these condi...
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