Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 22, 2010

From: Mannington, WV
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for dry shade in West Virginia
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

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 every year and is very low maintenance. I would also like to plant some kind of flowers for color. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

Well, you are describing the growing conditions that are most challenging for plants and gardeners alike! But those conditions do exist in nature, so by choosing native plants you have a much better chance of success.  Because the plants are adapted to your area and conditions, they will also require little maintenance, but will still need to be watered until they are established.

Your plant selection will ultimately be determined by what you find in your local nurseries but you can start your wish list by visiting our Native Plant Database. If you do a Combination Search for West Virginia selecting dry and shady conditions, it will generate a list of 153 plants.  Each plant name on the list is linked to a detailed information page with images.  I find the process is simpler if I narrow the search further, selecting trees, shrubs, perennials (herbs) (and so on) to generate separate lists according to the plants I am looking for.

Here are a few plants from those lists that should work for you.

Shrubs 

Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry)

Rosa setigera (climbing rose)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)

Viburnum acerifolium (mapleleaf viburnum)

Perennials

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (roundlobe hepatica)

Lilium philadelphicum(wood lily)

Polygonatum biflorum (smooth Solomon's seal)

Pteridium aquilinum (western brackenfern)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia spiderwort)


Amelanchier arborea

Rosa setigera

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Viburnum acerifolium

Aquilegia canadensis

Campanula rotundifolia

Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa

Lilium philadelphicum

Pteridium aquilinum

Tradescantia virginiana

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Ornamental grasses under desert willows from Dallas, TX
September 06, 2013 - I am planning on planting 3 desert willows in full sun, below the power lines at the back of my back yard in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas. I would like to plant some ornamental grasses in the be...
view the full question and answer

Drought Resistant Privacy Screen for North Side of Austin Texas House
July 10, 2016 - We live in the densely populated Mueller development, where there's barely 3 feet from our home to the 6 foot high privacy fence between us and the house next door. Since the houses are 2 stories, we ...
view the full question and answer

Need a 2-4 ft shrub for the shady NW side of the house in Austin, TX
February 07, 2012 - I am looking for a 2-4 ft tall shrub or hedge to plant along the NW side of my house, which is shaded by a live oak. This area doesn't get any direct sun. I wondered if a row of Winter Gem Boxwoods ...
view the full question and answer

Need perennials for a long shady bed in Wantagh, NY.
May 25, 2010 - Looking for perennials to be planted in long narrow beds that receive mostly shade with late day sun. Reside in Long Island, New York. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Native plants for partial shade in Pennsylvania
April 04, 2008 - Much of my growing area in Northern exposure, shade-partial shade once trees get leaves. I'm looking for native plants to use for screens and for ground-covers, grasses and edible plants.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.