Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 26, 2010

From: Kents Store, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Balancing bloom in beds in Kents Store VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our beds along a walkway in rural Central VA have replanted themselves - oenethera speciosa and dwarf yarrow have abandoned the north bed and are flourishing in the south bed. Sedums, lavender and candytuft seem to like both sides. The overall results are very unbalanced. We have poor clay soil, alkaline, some drought in the summer. What can we do to get some taller native flowers to grow on the north side of our walkway?

ANSWER:

We don't seem to have enough information to answer your question, so we'll do some speculating. You have to figure out what is different between the two beds. Does one have more shade than the other, or less opportunity for irrigation or does water sometimes stand on one bed and not the other? If we understand you correctly, all the plants you named started out in both beds. In the Spring, 2 plants, the oenethera and the yarrow, didn't come up in the north bed. It's not that the plants in the north bed migrated, they just failed to re-emerge in the north bed when Spring came.

Good in the south bed but not in the north bed:

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies) - needs full sun (6 or more hours of sun a day) and moist soil, native to your area

Achillea millefolium (common yarrow) - sun or part shade, can withstand dry soil, prefers moist, native to your area

Good in both beds:

Sedum ternatum (woodland stonecrop) - sun or part shade, moist soil, native to your area

Iberis sempervirens (Candytuft) - full sun, native to Africa, Asia, Europe

Lavender - native to the Meditteranean area, likes dry, sunny area

It looks to us like there was/is more shade than the plants that failed to come up in the north bed could withstand. Since the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower will only recommend plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown, we will find some native blooming plants that are okay with part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) or shade (2 hours or less of sun a day.) You can follow each native plant link to its database page to learn about its culture, light requirements, colors and so forth.  If both beds have full sun, you will have to examine other factors that might be different, going back to Recommended Species, clicking on Virginia on the map, and then selecting herbs (herbaceous blooming plants), perennial in Lifespan, sun in Light Requirements, and then Narrow Your Search. If you wish to change the Light Requirements or put in the soil moisture, that will narrow your choice down even more. 

Herbaceous Blooming Plants for part shade or shade in Virginia:

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Caltha palustris (yellow marsh marigold)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Conoclinium coelestinum (blue mistflower)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Gentiana clausa (bottle gentian)

Iris versicolor (harlequin blueflag)

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Caterpillars devouring Blue Wild Indigo in Jesup GA
September 05, 2011 - I have a false blue indigo growing in my garden. Every spring it gets defoliated by Genista moth caterpillars. It usually doesn't put out new growth until the next spring. This summer, it has put ...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for cool weather in Cypress TX
October 02, 2011 - I am a novice gardener and I am looking for some ideas on potted plants for the fall/winter. They would be covered by a roof, but still susceptible to the elements. What can be planted now that will...
view the full question and answer

Showy Low Growing Perennial for Michigan
June 03, 2013 - I have been looking for a native perennial that would do well in full sun and moist to dry soil. It would have to be at most 2.5' tall and have showy pink, purple, or red flowers. Is there such a pla...
view the full question and answer

English Garden in Texas from Dallas
February 28, 2013 - I am introducing perennials to my rose beds, and would like help for an English Garden look in TEXAS!!! (stump the expert!!) One plant I am interest in, as it provides blue (which roses don't) is m...
view the full question and answer

Euphorbia 'Cherokee' leaves drying from Benson AZ
October 24, 2012 - I have a Euphorbia 'Cherokee' in a pot and has been growing nicely but some of the leaves are turning red and drying up and falling off. Is this normal for this plant?
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.