En Español

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?


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
2 ratings

Tuesday - May 25, 2010

From: Tobyhanna, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Annual flowers for rocky area near driveway in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton


What type(s) of annual flowers can I plant along a driveway in northeast PA? The soil is very rocky and the area is mostly shady receiving only morning and some late afternoon sun.


In our Native Plant Database do a COMBINATION SEARCH and select 'Pennsylvania' from the Select State or Province area, then choose 'Herb' under Habit (general appearance), 'Annual' under Duration (lifespan), and 'Part shade...' under Light requirement to find plants that meet your criteria.

Here are a few examples from that list:

Bidens cernua (nodding beggartick)

Coreopsis tinctoria (golden tickseed)

Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

If you think you could use perennials rather than annuals, you will find a larger number of choices available if you substitute 'perennial' instead of 'annual' for your search term.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:

Bidens cernua

Coreopsis tinctoria

Gaillardia pulchella

Rudbeckia hirta

Viola sororia



More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015 - I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
July 20, 2011 - I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Questions about lilies from Trussville AL
January 10, 2012 - How can I tell what kind of lily I have? Or better yet,what is the difference between Asiatic lily and a daylily? I also noticed someone asked about Cahaba lily. Just want to let you know I grow Caha...
view the full question and answer

Is the Obedient Plant a bog plant?
August 16, 2008 - I purchased 2 obedient plants at a farmer's market in Michigan. As I was unfamiliar with this plant, the merchant told me it did well in full sun. It was just what I needed. When I got home I look...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to grow between flagstones in Vista, CA.
February 06, 2012 - Hi, I have put in a flagstone patio set in DG. The DG is creating a very sandy messy surface on the flagstone, so want to plant a low ground cover between the joints. Its a fairly large area, in sun...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center