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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.

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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

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