En EspaŅol

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
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 - April 26, 2006

From: Long Beach, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Ferns, Shrubs, Vines
Title: Native plants with little sun and northern exposure for New York
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I live in a co-op and want to fix up the backyard. The backyard area has a west area to plant with a northern exposure and little sun and I am looking to plant something to cover the area. I would like it to grow or climb. The backyard faces another building. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Though I'm not sure what your soil is like or what kind of moisture the backyard space receives, I can make a few initial suggestions of plants native to New York that might do well in your area.

For shade in the Northeast, ferns immediately come to mind:

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Crested Woodfern (Dryopteris cristata)
New York Fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis)

A well-known groundcovering and climbing vine native to your area that can also tolerate shade is Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

I don't know how large your space is, but moderate-sized New York shrubs that can grow in shade include Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) and Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia).

You can get more ideas by perusing our Regional Factpack for the Northeast, and be sure and check our National Suppliers Directory when you're ready to purchase plants.

 

More Ferns Questions

Environmental factors that affect lifecycle stages of maidenhair fern.
November 07, 2014 - What are the environmental factors that can affect the lifecycle stages of a maidenhair fern, particularly A. trichorleopis? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for Texas native plants for memorial
June 30, 2005 - A dear friend of ours has passed and we would like some ideas of a native Texas plant we could plant in memory of her. It will be grown in the hill region near Houston. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plant to cover parents' graves in Louisiana
June 30, 2013 - We want to plant ground cover on our parents graves in Plain Dealing Cemetery in north Bossier Parish LA. Soil is red clay/dirt. Want native plant, slow growing, short not tall plant, that might sta...
view the full question and answer

Starting shade-tolerant ground covers in New York
September 10, 2013 - Hi, I have seen some of the posts for shade-tolerant ground cover on the east end of Long Island and my question is process related. Now that I've identified the grasses/plants I need to keep my fro...
view the full question and answer

Calcium from Eggshells for Ferns?
December 15, 2014 - I was reading recently about beneficial additions to the soil/plant. The first was about soaking used egg shells overnight and then pouring the water onto ferns. They said that the calcium in eggshell...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center