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
1 rating

Saturday - April 16, 2011

From: Dover, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Ornamental shade grasses for Dover AR
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Ornamental shade grasses for sandy soil or silt, part shade, or even vines.

ANSWER:

We are going to direct you to our Native Plant Database, and teach you how to make choices there for yourself, although we will give you some examples. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow natively. This is because a plant native to an area is already accustomed, by millennia of experience, to the climate, rainfall and soils of that area. This is a great conservation move, because artificial fertilizers, supplementary watering and chemicals will be needed in moderation, if at all.

Following the link above, you will get a page with "Combination Search" on it, with which you can select the state where you garden, types of plants, shade and sun conditions, even soil moisture. When you have checked all that are appropriate on the sidebar on the right-hand side of the page, click on "Combination Search" at the bottom of the page, and you will get a list of plants that fit your requirements. If you put in too many conditions, you may get no selections at all, so you will have to compromise and figure out what you can do without or change in your specifications. You can organize the same Search for vines, trees, shrubs, ferns, succulents or ferns.

We will go to the Combination Search, select Arkansas in the drop-down menu, part shade in Light Requirements and whatever else you think applies. You will get a list of 96 grasses native to Arkansas. Follow each plant link on that list to determine what soils that plant prefers, expected size of the plant, whether it is evergreen, bloom time and color, etc. If you don't like these, you should be able to do the same thing and find others you like better. We selected some that we already have some experience with, and checked the USDA Plant Profiles on each to assure that that each could be grown in Pope County, USDA Hardiness Zones 7a to 7b. If you need more local advice, contact the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service for Pope County. Here is a list of the grasses that we thought would do well for you:

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem) - 4-8 ft, tall, perennial, medium water use, sun (6 hours of sun or more) or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun).

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - 2 to 4 ft, perennial, medium water use, part shade or shade (less than 2 hours of sun daily).

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye or canada wild rye) - 2-4 ft. perennial, medium water use, sun or part shade.

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) - 18 to 24", perennial, sun or part shade.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Andropogon gerardii


Chasmanthium latifolium


Elymus canadensis


Schizachyrium scoparium

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for shade in Abilene TX
October 29, 2011 - I live in Abilene, Texas. I am trying to find the best plants to fill in an area on the North side of my home, which gets absolutely no sun. The area is sprinklered, and stays fairly moist. I really d...
view the full question and answer

Container plants for shade in Austin
March 15, 2011 - I reside in 78739. Just moving here from So Cal (where all plants are perennials), I'm looking to create a good "Shade loving" Container for near my front door. I'm looking at 'Summer Wave' Wi...
view the full question and answer

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Oak leaf hydrangeas from Edwardsville IL
August 13, 2012 - Hello, I live in West Central Illinois (across the river from St. Louis) and I am considering planting several Oak leaf Hydrangea's in my yard. The location where I would like to plant them is und...
view the full question and answer

ground covers for shady areas in New York City
June 27, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: What would be the best ground covers for big shady areas in New York City instead of lawns?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center