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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - March 25, 2013

From: TOTOWA, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be great. I've discovered Gaultheria, and my garden center could get it for me. Please answer as quickly as possible, so that I can get them in at the end of April or early May. My Town is up in arms over birders.

ANSWER:

Gaultheria procumbens (Eastern teaberry) is certainly an excellent choice for a low-growing evergreen plant with berries attractive to birds and is native to New Jersey.

Below is a list of other plants native to your area that have fruits or flowers that are attractive to birds and will grow in part shade or shade.  They range in size from heights of 2 inches up to 30 or so feet.

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry) grows to 20 feet in sun, part shade or shade.

Eutrochium purpureum (Purple joepyeweed) grows to 6 feet in sun, part shade or shade.

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower) grows to 6 feet in sun, part shade or shade and is especially attractive to hummingbirds.

Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum (Feathery false lily of the valley) grows to 3 feet in part shade and shade.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) grows to only 2 inches high in part shade and shade.

Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry) grows to 30 feet in sun, part shade or shade.

Vaccinium angustifolium (Late lowbush blueberry) grows to 2 feet high in sun, part shade or shade.

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry) grows in partial shade to 12 feet.

Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa (Red elderberry) grows in shade to 20 feet.

You can also go to the New Jersey Recommended page to find a list of commercially available plants native to your area.  If you use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option on that page, you can limit the list to plants that will grow in the shade and then scan through the list for those plants with fruits that are used by birds.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

Canadian serviceberry
Amelanchier canadensis

Purple joepyeweed
Eutrochium purpureum

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Feathery false lily of the valley
Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana

Late lowbush blueberry
Vaccinium angustifolium

Eve's necklace
Styphnolobium affine

Red elderberry
Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa

More Trees Questions

Protection of live oak trees from covering by concrete patio
February 02, 2008 - I am thinking about pouring a large cement patio around my live oak trees in my yard. I live in Rockport Tx. How far should the edge of the cement be, from the base of the tree? Will the patio kill th...
view the full question and answer

Landscape color for Rialto, CA
May 11, 2009 - My sister-in-law lives in Rialto CA near the base of the San Bernardino Mt ranges and it gets very windy out there. She and I were trying to figure out the best native plants for her area. Her home fa...
view the full question and answer

Natural lifespan of wild plum trees
May 12, 2008 - We have a small border of Wild Plum Trees in our yard. Every year it seem that one or two of the biggest trees die. Do they have a specific life span? We transplanted the trees/bushes from the panh...
view the full question and answer

Offer to send Bumelia to Kansas from Central Texas.
April 02, 2010 - If you send my email to the person who wanted the Bumelia lanuginosa (synonym: Sideroxylon langinosum), I will dig some for him/her.
view the full question and answer

Replacements for photinia from San Antonio
August 31, 2012 - i just read your response to someone regarding Red Tip shrubs. You just saved me thousands of dollars ! I was getting ready to order over 250 of these to line my 2.5 acre fence line. What shrub would ...
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