En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - August 14, 2012

From: Media, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Deer Resistant, Drought Tolerant, Shade Tolerant
Title: Deer resistant, drought- and shade-tolerant plant for Pennsylvania
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I need a deer/drought resistant, shade tolerant, rocky soil perennial. I would like it to have some winter appeal. I live outside of Philadelphia, PA. Thank you so much for your time!

ANSWER:

You can find a list of Deer Resistant Species on our Recommended Species page; however, I urge you to read our "disclaimer" concerning "deer resistant plants":

"Few plants are completely deer resistant. Several factors influence deer browsing including the density of the deer population, environmental conditions such as drought, and plant palatability. Deer tend to avoid plants with aromatic foliage, tough leathery and/or hairy or prickly leaves or plants with milky latex or sap. Try using some of the plants listed here to minimize deer damage to your landscape."

To find plants that meet your other criteria, use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose "Pennsylvania from the Select State or Province option, "Perennial" from Lifespan, "Shade" and/or "Part shade" from Light Requirement and "Dry" from Soil Moisture.  Here are some suggestions from that list:

GROUNDCOVER PLANTS:

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) has evergreen leaves and violet/purple blossoms in the spring.

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) may remain green in mild winters.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) is evergreen.

HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS (with showy summer blossoms):

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

SHRUBS:

Ptelea trifoliata (Wafer ash)

Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac) has colorful fall foliage and red berries that persist through the winter.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry) has pink/purple berries that stay on the bush through the winter.

You might find the answer to a previous question about deer resistant plants from someone in Pennsylvania of interest.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

Wafer ash
Ptelea trifoliata

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Native Plant for a Sunny South-facing House Wall in Tucson
March 01, 2014 - I have a problematic block wall on the south side of the house and I what a plant to soften the look of the wall. I tried butterfly bush which I'm told died from of bounce-back heat from the wall. I ...
view the full question and answer

Raingarden Plants for Brownsville, TX
March 14, 2014 - I'm a Landscape Architect in South Texas and I'm implementing raingardens and vegetated swales in my projects. What native plants could be used in these gardens/water runways. They would need to res...
view the full question and answer

Finding a manzanita species suitable for Fort Worth, TX
April 28, 2015 - Which manzanita shrub would thrive best in the Fort Worth, Tx. area? I was thinking of planting it in a large pot. Thank You!
view the full question and answer

Shady Perennial Groundcover Suggestions for Indiana
April 21, 2013 - Could you please recommend perennial groundcovers for Indiana that are low and leafy, self-spreading, non-invasive, deer resistant, and moisture tolerant; and that are good for erosion control on a sh...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for clay soil in Southern California
August 08, 2012 - I live in Southern California and have hard packed clay soil in my yard. Could you recommend ground cover that would be green, low to the ground, require little water and survive in clay? I can't a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center