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

Native Evergreen for Shady Back Yard in IL
April 16, 2015 - I am looking for a native evergreen to provide bird shelter in my southeast facing small back yard. I would prefer a horizontal juniper but don't know if it could grow in the shade of the 8 or 9 matu...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and other plants for shady area in Austin
March 22, 2010 - I am looking for what kind of shrubs, plants that I can plant under my very shady oak trees in South Austin. Soil is good, I want to have some lushness under my trees instead of dirt, I have a small a...
view the full question and answer

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreen shade shrub for Lincoln NH
September 14, 2009 - I need a fast-growing, shade loving evergreen shrub that will give us privacy and grow in and around some White Pines whose branches were pruned to 4 - 6 ft above the ground. The house is in Lincoln ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade
August 19, 2008 - I live in hot, humid Houston and the tree coverage of my yard is nearly 100 percent (so, little sunlight reaches the ground). Can you suggest a plant or two that would thrive in these conditions?
view the full question and answer

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