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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - June 02, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Will Salvia coccinea bloom in shade in Houston?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Houston and I used your database tool to search for shade plants. I am particularly interested in plants that bloom and support native pollinators. My search returned salvia coccinea. Will this plant flower in shade? One of the spots gets no direct sunlight. Can you recommend any plants that do flower in the shade?

ANSWER:

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) is shown on our database as growing in sun (6 or more hours of sun daily), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun) or shade (less than 2 hours of sun.) Growing and blooming are two different things. Any plant, no matter how shade tolerant, will bloom far better in some sun. The function of the flowers is to produce seeds, in order for the plant to propagate itself. If it cannot do so because of not enough sunlight, it will hardly be worth the space you have given to it. If your shade is that deep, you may have to satisfy yourself with plants like ferns that, while they do not bloom, do provide some color and texture in a shady spot. We will look in our database for plants tolerating shade, and give you some suggestions; however, we can't guarantee blooms, or at least enough blooming to attract the pollinators, who all prefer lots of flowers in an area. We suppose they are picky eaters and want a wide choice. 

Shade Tolerant Herbaceous Blooming Plants for the Houston Area:

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - sun, part shade or shade, attracts butterflies

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - sun, part shade or shade, nectar attracts hummingbirds, moths and insects

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox) - part shade or shade, flowers attract butterflies

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) - sun, part shade or shade, nectar attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies

Shade Tolerant Shrubs for the Houston Area:

Hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea) - shade, but no attraction for wildlife

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow) - part shade or shade, nectar attracts hummingbirds, moths and insects, fruit attracts birds and small mammals

Shade Tolerant Ferns for the Houston Area:

Athyrium filix-femina (common ladyfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Coreopsis lanceolata

Lobelia cardinalis

Phlox divaricata

Salvia coccinea

Hydrangea quercifolia

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Athyrium filix-femina

Osmunda cinnamomea

 

 

 

 

 

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