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 Shade Tolerant Questions

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
view the full question and answer

Lantana failing to bloom from Tampa FL
October 04, 2012 - I reside in central Florida. I have planted several lantana the orange,red,yellow type. I don't have proper species name. They have been in the ground 3 weeks with 2" of potting soil around root ba...
view the full question and answer

transplanting Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
October 25, 2011 - Behind our house is a huge grotto with a spring flowing through it that runs into a creek. Because of the constant flow of water, there are many of the Maidenhair Ferns (Adiantum capillus-veneris). I ...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant privacy fence for shade in Hill Country
April 28, 2009 - I am looking for a shrub to plant along a privacy fence that gets 8+ feet tall, fast growing, preferably native, deer resistant, and can tolerate mostly shade. I reside in the Hill Country area. Tha...
view the full question and answer

Small evergreen shrubs for part shade in Texas
January 31, 2015 - Mr. Smarty Pants, I'm, for some reason, at odds with myself about a shrub decision. I have need about 8 ft of hedge-like evergreen shrub(s) that I can maintain around 4ft to go under a window. It...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center