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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - June 23, 2012

From: Jacksonville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant
Title: Drought-tolerant plants for deep shade in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for indigenous, drought tolerant, leafy dense plants (kind of hosta like) that will grow in deep shade (under a tree that gets little sun) in Jacksonville, Florida.

ANSWER:

This is not an easy assignment.   I did a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database by choosing "Florida" from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" under Habit (general appearance), both "Part shade" and "Shade" under Light requirement and "Dry" under Soil moisture.  This gave me a list of 103 possibilities and I used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to select "Evergreen" under Leaf retention.  This narrowed the list to 9 results.  The first two plants below resulted from that search.  I did the same search two times more except that once I substituted "Grass/grass-like" for "Herb" and another time I substituted "Vine" for "Herb" to get the final two entries on the list below.  You can do similar searches yourself.  For each of the plants I have included a link to the USDA Plants Database distribution map for Florida.  All but one of these plants occur in Duval County—Carex blanda occurs in adjacent Nassau County.

Hexastylis arifolia (Littlebrownjug).  Here are more photos and information from MariesGarden.com.  Florida distribution map from the USDA Plants Database.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage).  Here are more photos and information from Floridata.  Florida distribution from USDA Plants Database.

Smilax pumila (Sarsaparilla vine).  Here are more photos and information from TAMU Aggie Horticulture and from Southeastern Flora.  Florida distribution from the USDA Plants Database.

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) is not broadleafed, but it is evergreen and grows well in dry shade.  C. blanda occurs in adjacent Nassau County according to the USDA Plants Database.

 

From the Image Gallery


Little brown jug
Hexastylis arifolia

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Sarsaparilla vine
Smilax pumila

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

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