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
2 ratings

Monday - June 18, 2012

From: Hickory Hills, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Soils, Shade Tolerant
Title: Plants for Shady Clay soil in Illinois
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Could you recommoned native plants for clay soil and shade near Chicago?

ANSWER:

Sure, this question is perfectly posed for the sorting capabilities of our recommended species lists!

I would start with the Recommended Species list for Illinois.   Notice that on the right hand side is a listing of different plant requirements or characteristics. These can be selected to reduce the list to just those species with those characteristics.

For example, selecting "Shade" under Light Requirement reduces the list from 177 species to 96 and adding more characteristics would reduce the list even more.

Unfortunately, "Clay Soil" is not one of the selectable characteristics.  However, this can be found in the individual plant records under "Growing Conditions".

Some "Shade" hardy plants that like clay soils include:

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)
Carya ovata (Shagbark hickory)
Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)
Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)
Crataegus crus-galli (Cockspur hawthorn)
Fraxinus americana (White ash)
Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green ash)
Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffeetree)
Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel)

This is just a sampling, I was only 1/2 way though the list with these.  Note though, that you can select for Trees, or Forbs, or for plants that bloom in specific times to reduce this list to a more manageable size!

 

From the Image Gallery


Shagbark hickory
Carya ovata

Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

White ash
Fraxinus americana

Kentucky coffeetree
Gymnocladus dioicus

Witch hazel
Hamamelis virginiana

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native plants for dry shade in Virginia
May 23, 2008 - I live in Reston, Virginia and have dry shade. What are the best plants to use for my garden. Xeriscaping and native plants are important considerations.
view the full question and answer

Wet & Shade in South Austin
February 19, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants - I live in south Austin (S. of Ben White) in a new development. Our houses are fairly close together, so there's little sun between them. The issue is that when it does rain, ...
view the full question and answer

Decorative Trees for Scenic Bench in Fairhope IL
June 10, 2012 - I am looking for a recommendation for a pair of small trees (does not grow taller than 18-20 feet) that can provide shade on either side of a stone bench. The site is in full sun, western exposure an...
view the full question and answer

Flowering plants for shade in St. Augustine FL
May 25, 2009 - I would like to know what flowering plants I can purchase that grow in a shaded area in St Augustine Florida
view the full question and answer

Interaction of Habiturf and St. Augustine grasses from Willow City TX
April 16, 2012 - How does Habiturf and St. Augustine interact? Does one dominate the other? Can you plant them in close areas? Thank you.
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