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
9 ratings

Tuesday - June 07, 2011

From: Rhinelander, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for a shady hillside in WI
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I would like to know what kind of plants I could plant on a northern exposure hillside to stop erosion. At the bottom of the hill is a lake. Also would putting rocks from the area as natural retaining work to stop erosion. There are a mixture of a few pines, maples and birches on this hillside also. I don't want to put any more trees on the hillside just some plants. Thanks

ANSWER:

It's a good idea to use the native rocks strategically to stabilize your slope.  They don't necessarily need to be lined up as for a retaining wall, but can be placed as nature would.  This will create places to nestle plants around them and slow the flow of water down the slope.

There are many woodland shrubs and herbaeous plants (grasses, ferns and perennials) that will grow oon your shady slope and complement the trees you have growing there.

The plants you use for the project will ultimately be the ones that are available in the nurseries, but to learn about the plants that are native to your area and suitable candidates visit our Native Plant Database and do a Combination Search for Wisconsin, the plant type (shrub, herb etc) and your conditions (shady and dry or moist?).  The database will generate lists of plants with links to detailed information pages.

Some plants fom those lists to consider are:

Shrubs

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)

Diervilla lonicera (Northern bush honeysuckle)

Gaultheria procumbens (Checkerberry)

Hypericum prolificum (Shrubby st. johnswort)

Physocarpus opulifolius (Atlantic ninebark)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)

Perennials & Ferns

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Maianthemum stellatum (Starry false lily of the valley)

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry)

Penstemon hirsutus (Hairy beardtongue)

Polygonatum biflorum (Smooth solomon's seal)

Polypodium virginianum (Rock polypody)

Pteridium aquilinum (Western bracken fern)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia spiderwort)

Here are some photos fom our Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Diervilla lonicera


Gaultheria procumbens


Physocarpus opulifolius


Hypericum prolificum


Symphoricarpos orbiculatus


Aquilegia canadensis


Maianthemum stellatum


Mitchella repens


Penstemon hirsutus


Polygonatum biflorum


Polypodium virginianum


Pteridium aquilinum


Tradescantia virginiana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Illinois native grasses for shade
June 27, 2013 - Hello, my grass has died in a very shady area (standard buffalo grass), and I took this as an opportunity to plant some native grass varieties. I originally thought of buffalo grass, but learned that ...
view the full question and answer

Suggestion for plants to replace grass in semi-shade in NY
February 01, 2008 - I have an area that is in semi-shade but gets about 4-5 hours of sunlight in the summer. Instead of grass I would like to perhaps use wild flowers or even prairie type grasses. Any suggestions??
view the full question and answer

Vines for shade in Central Texas
February 04, 2008 - We'd like to fill in our long expanse of yard fencing with climbing vines. We are limited by 40' live oaks that cut off the sun but surely something works in the shade and heat!
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for sun/part shade in Austin
May 07, 2008 - I live in Southwest Austin and I have a small backyard that has part sun/part shade. I have no grass in the backyard and my soil is not the healthiest, so I would like to plant some groundcover versus...
view the full question and answer

Native understory plants for shade under live oaks
June 09, 2008 - I have large live oak trees in my front yard. I would like to start North Central Texas native landscaping under them, where no grass will grow. Do you know of some plants that would do well in ful...
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