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: Toledo, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Evergreen Deck Plant for Oregon
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Need evergreen shrub to grow in shade in container 5ft tall for deck.

ANSWER:

Wow!   You have a number of great choices.  I used the recommended species list for Oregon, then I selected “shrubs” as the aspect and “Shade <2 hrs sun”.  This still left 25 plants as possibilities.  When I read through the set, looking for evergreens, a reasonable size and native to the central coastline, I still had 9 plants on my list!

 Top of the list has got to be Mahonia aquifolium (Holly-leaf oregon-grape).  The record shows that Holly-leaf Oregon-grape is a 3-6 ft., mound-shaped, broadleaf evergreen shrub with pinnately compound, glossy, leathery leaves.  The 5-9 dark-green leaflets are armed with spiny teeth and turn reddish in fall.  Terminal clusters of bright-yellow, bell-shaped flowers are followed by clusters of tiny blue, grape-like fruits.  The bronzy copper color or the new growth in spring is an added bonus.  This stout shrub is the state flower of Oregon - Sounds like a good conversation piece to me!

Two other great choices are Rhododendron macrophyllum (Pacific rhododendron) and Vaccinium ovatum (California huckleberry).  The rhododendron, of course, because it is showy, and the huckleberry as it has edible berries [whether or not you choose to]!

                   
Mahonia aquifolium
               Rhododendron macrophyllum        Gaultheria shallon

 Rounding out my list of possible shrubs:  Ledum groenlandicum (Bog labrador tea),  Gaultheria shallon (Salal)Ceanothus velutinus (Snowbrush)Ceanothus sanguineus (Oregon teatree), and Arctostaphylos columbiana (Hairy manzanita)

And – just to check – rather than a 5 ft. shrub, is it the container that is 5 ft tall?  If so, then a trailing shrub like Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick) may be a good choice instead.

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Flowers under pine trees from Elkhart Indiana
May 02, 2013 - I have a number of pine trees at the back of my lot and would like to plant flowers under the tree. What can I plant?
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for a Shaded Patio Container in Missouri
April 17, 2015 - What kind of native plants would grow well in a pot on a fully shaded patio? I live in Kansas City, Missouri. The patio faces north and doesn't get any direct sunlight, but it gets lots of indirect...
view the full question and answer

Enough sun from San Marcos TX
February 22, 2013 - I would like to plant both Lantana urticoides and Salvia farinacea in area that only has morning to 1pm sun..Will this amount of sun be enough?
view the full question and answer

Shade Shrubs for a NJ Slope
June 27, 2016 - I live in central NJ and have a 15' shaded slope behind my home with a creek on the bottom. The slope erodes a little every year and I want to plant native plants on the slope to stop the erosion. Wha...
view the full question and answer

Plant that can move from outside to inside for Denton, TX
December 14, 2008 - I am looking for a plant that is either native to Texas or is well acclimated to the Denton TX area that can move from a covered outside area to an adjacent indoor area behind large glass walls, to a ...
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