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

Flowering vine for shade in Southern California
May 11, 2012 - Flowering climbing plant for shade in Palm Desert, CA.
view the full question and answer

Erosion control on partially shaded slope
November 27, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Atlanta, GA. My house is on a hill, and I am beginning to have erosion at my backyard porch (concrete slab, on the corners especially). The soil is mainly red clay, a...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers and ground cover for damp, shady area in Wisconsin
May 11, 2006 - I would like to plant some flowers and ground cover in the front of my yard near my home. This spot is usually damp and nearly always shaded. Any suggestions? Also I'm looking for blue flowering pla...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
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

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