En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions

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 - April 29, 2013

From: Bryson City, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Drought Tolerant, Erosion Control, Shade Tolerant, Ferns, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Vines, Wildflowers
Title: Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We live in a very shady spot in Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We would like to plant vegetation on a sloped area behind our cottage to stop erosion after building an addition. Our home sits at an elevation of approx. 3,800 ft. and the area is shaded most of the day in the summer months, and much of the day the rest of the year. In other words, very little direct sunlight. Any help or advice you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database.  Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.

Under Combination Search, select the following categories: North Carolina, Habit – all habits, Duration – perennial, Light requirement – shade, Soil moisture – dry (because of the slope), Size characteristics – 0-1 ft. and 1-3 ft.

Some of the more drought and shade tolerant possibilities that could be used as steep slope plants include:

Apocynum androsaemifolium (spreading dogbane) 2-5 ft. groundcover, small pink flowers in summer. Very aggressive.

Aristolochia serpentaria (Virginia snakeroot) a showy groundcover with purple blooms in early summer.

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea) a low deciduous shrub to 3 ft. White flowers in spring.

Diervilla lonicera (Northern bush honeysuckle) a low shrub to 3 ft. with yellow flowers in summer. Reddish fall color.

Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry) 1-2 ft. tall with white tubular flowers. Edible berries follow. Leaves turn orange and crimson in the fall.

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) low, attractive evergreen groundcover. Some drought tolerance if in shade. White blooms in summer followed by showy red fruit. Needs acidic soil.

Pteridium aquilinum var. pseudocaudatum (bracken fern) most tolerant fern for dry shade. Needs water to become established then quite drought tolerant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Spreading dogbane
Apocynum androsaemifolium

Virginia snakeroot
Aristolochia serpentaria

Virginia snakeroot
Aristolochia serpentaria

New jersey tea
Ceanothus americanus

Northern bush honeysuckle
Diervilla lonicera

Northern bush honeysuckle
Diervilla lonicera

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Bracken fern
Pteridium aquilinum var. pseudocaudatum

More Erosion Control Questions

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

Restoring a slope in the Mississippi sandhill region
August 01, 2011 - We are building on 5 acres (leaving 60% as is, natural). Only building a small (900-1200 sq ft house) & clearing 1 acre of the valley for a pond. There is a steep slope (where we had to put field dra...
view the full question and answer

Establishing wildflowers on a slope in Virginia
August 18, 2012 - From Roanoke Virginia. I have a steep bank rising from one side of my driveway to woods above. Different areas vary from full sun, to half day shade. It is possible to carefully walk/stand on it, we a...
view the full question and answer

Severely cutback sloping soil in Dripping Springs TX
May 09, 2010 - We have 5.5 acres off Henly Loop just north of Hwy 290 about 10 miles west of Dripping Springs, TX. The former property owners carved out soil from a sloping area to get soil for the driveway. Doing ...
view the full question and answer

Searching for nursery with yellow nutsedge in NC
January 27, 2014 - I'd like to plant yellow nut sedge as a cover to stop erosion in a lot. Where can I buy yellow nut sedge plants near Kinston, North Carolina? Thank you.
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