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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 27, 2011

From: Long Island City, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: ground covers for shady areas in New York City
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: What would be the best ground covers for big shady areas in New York City instead of lawns?

ANSWER:

I'm sorry your question and answer seemed to disappear into the Internet without leaving a trace.  Here is essentially what I wrote:

There is quite a variety of plants to choose from, depending upon your conditions, e.g. full shade, part shade, moist, dry, need for low-growing or taller species.  Grasses generally do not do well in shade, but you could use a sedge, such as Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge).  This would look nice interspersed with other short speicies like Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry), Viola pedata (Birdfoot violet) (if the site is dry),or Viola sororia (Missouri violet) (if the site is moist).  Ferns should do well.  In moist spots, Osmunda cinnamomea (Cinnamon fern) or Osmunda regalis (Royal fern), and in dryer spots, Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern).  If taller plants are desirable, consider Hypericum prolificum (Shrubby st. johnswort), Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum (Feathery false lily of the valley), Maianthemum stellatum (Starry false lily of the valley), and Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia).  Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New england aster) should thrive in partly sunny areas.

Clicking on the names shown above will give you more information on each one.

 

From the Image Gallery


Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Birdfoot violet
Viola pedata

Missouri violet
Viola sororia

Cinnamon fern
Osmunda cinnamomea

Royal fern
Osmunda regalis

Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

Shrubby st. johnswort
Hypericum prolificum

Starry false lily of the valley
Maianthemum stellatum

Feathery false lily of the valley
Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum

Great blue lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica

New england aster
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Wildflowers for a shady spot in IL
February 26, 2011 - I have a low-sun spot on the side of my house in Chicago, IL. I would really like to turn this spot into a wildflower garden. Could you suggest some native IL flowers that might work in this spot? ...
view the full question and answer

Different shades of green in Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)
June 05, 2008 - I have two bald cypress trees 50 feet apart, but there was very different soil in the two holes. One was a clayey soil and the other was much more the Austin limestone soil. The trees are about 2 ye...
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

Disagreement with HOA on raised beds placed beneath mature oak from Tequesta FL
April 05, 2014 - I have mature 30 year old oak trees on my property and I put a raised bed under each with very good soil and I used pavers for retaining the soil about about 1.5 ft high. I planted a perennial begonia...
view the full question and answer

Native shrub for part shade in Austin
April 16, 2009 - I live in SE Austin (Dove Springs area). I have a 3' by 3' area near my front door. It gets morning sun, but not the entire morning because of the tall tree in my front yard. By 11 o'clock or noon,...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center