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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - May 29, 2011

From: Oklahoma City, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for a shaded flower bed in OK City
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Here in Oklahoma City we have a flower bed west of our house, shaded all day by the house next door except for 2-3 hours of direct sun from the west. I have struggled with what bushes to plant there. I don't want trees, as we have those at the front of the garden. The area is 5 1/2' deep and 10' wide. I would appreciate advise as to what kind of bushes would thrive in this area. Thanks so much.

ANSWER:

  The Wildflower Center has a really nice resource for this kind of plant shopping.  If you go to the "Recommended Species" link under "Explore Plants" - you can choose the recommended species that will do well in Oklahoma.   If you then narrow your selection by choosing  “Shade <2 hrs sunlight” - - That gives 29 possiblities.   Most of those are trees though.

For a space 5 ft deep and 10 ft wide - you might be able to have a mid-size shrub for the background. If you narrow your search to Shrubs – there are three results.  The one which looks a good choice is Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac), which blooms late spring to summer. The other two, Amelanchier arborea (Common serviceberry) and Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush), are a bit tall and  the buttonbush prefers a wet habitat.

             
Rhus glabra                           Cephalanthus occidentalis             Amelanchier arborea     

  There are several attractive flowers that can be foreground.  Choosing “Herbs” as the aspect gives 11 results.  Good choices include  Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower) and Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox).   

 The Columbine blooms from February to July with a brilliant red flower.  The Blue Phlox has a spring blooming season.  The Cardinal flower also has a red flower and has a longer bloom of May to October.  At 3-6 feet, the Cardinal Flower is also a bit taller than most herbs, so it might do for the background.  Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis) is also slightly taller than the other herbs. 

             
Aquilegia canadensis
              Phlox divaricata                    Lobelia cardinalis

Of course, just following the process described above, you can review your own results and have the plants you prefer!

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Shade trees for horses in Merced, CA
January 21, 2011 - I would like to plant some trees to provide shade for horses in the pasture. What native trees are drought resistant (water may be spotty in the summer) yet safe for the animals? I live in the Calif...
view the full question and answer

Shade tree with no roots to interfere with patio in Lake City FL
April 24, 2011 - I have a 4x4 area surrounded by cement patio but would like a tree for shade that does not have roots that will mess up the slab.
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtle in partial shade in Dothan AL
March 13, 2009 - Will the Wax Myrtle do well in the 36303 area code in partial shade?
view the full question and answer

Shrub for shade in Rockford IL
April 29, 2009 - I live in Rockford, IL and would like to know what kind of bush to plant in pretty much, full shade. I would prefer to stay away from evergreens due to allergies. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Native violets under maples from Gettysburg PA
July 06, 2012 - Just for your info (no need to post or reply), I saw an old post of a question of something to grow under maples. In central PA, native violets grow very well under several species of maples in lawns...
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