Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 tree for horses in North Virginia
October 16, 2009 - I need to plant a shade tree for my horses and am considering a fast growing tree called an Empress Tree(paulownia). It would be outside of their fenced area but close enough to provide shade for the...
view the full question and answer

Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions
April 29, 2013 - We live in a very shady spot in Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We would like to plant vegetation on a sloped area behind our cottage to stop erosion after building an addition. Our h...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for a shady yard in Orange City, FL
June 21, 2009 - Hello, I am trying to plant wildflowers in my tree-shaded backyard that will not only kill the existing grass, but will also withstand the winter freezes in central Florida.
view the full question and answer

Will Salvia coccinea bloom in shade in Houston?
June 02, 2010 - I live in Houston and I used your database tool to search for shade plants. I am particularly interested in plants that bloom and support native pollinators. My search returned salvia coccinea. Will t...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.