En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Destructive landscape crews in The Woodlands TX
October 20, 2012 - Hi. We need help. We recently moved to a house where landscape crews have been blowing away the leaf litter from the front yard for many years. The underbrush was also cleared long ago. The result...
view the full question and answer

Tolerance of plants in area of Amarillo TX
March 24, 2013 - I want to know tolerance in the Amarillo area for Diospyros texana, Berberis trifoliata, and Capsicum annuum where it gets colder, is dry, and intensely hot in summer.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Vine for San Antonio Trellis
November 23, 2011 - I have a new trellis at the end of my patio on which I want to grow an evergreen vine. The area is fairly shady. I had settled on Carolina Jasmine, but read that it is very toxic which is worrisome ...
view the full question and answer

Native shade trees for Austin
May 15, 2009 - I am building a new home that does not have any trees close by-- I want to have several shade trees to increase the efficiency of my home. What are your suggestions for an easy care, fast-growing, an...
view the full question and answer

Shady shrubs for an ugly fence in New Jersey.
June 23, 2011 - What type of tree or shrub can I plant in 07747 NJ to cover an ugly fence that gets little or no sun. Thanks
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center