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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - June 03, 2013

From: Pittsburgh, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Trees, Wildflowers
Title: Plants for the Shade of a Pine Tree in Pittsburg
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live in Pittsburgh, PA. My neighbor has a huge pine tree. Last year everything I planted on that side near the tree died. That part of the yard only gets morning sun, as the tree overshadows it. What can I plant on that side that will survive being near the tree? I love lots of color.

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: State – Pennsylvania, Habit – herb, Duration – all durations, and Light Requirement – part shade and shade. This will give you a very large list of potential plants. You will have to narrow down this search further by indicating search criteria specifics for your soil moisture (is it dry under the pine tree?), lifespan (if you just want perennials), blooming time, height, and bloom color.

Some potential plants to consider include:
Geranium carolinianum (Carolina geranium)
Geranium maculatum (spotted geranium)
Helianthus divaricatus (woodland sunflower)
Helianthus strumosus (paleleaf woodland sunflower)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)
Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm)
Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)
Oenothera biennis (common evening primrose)
Penstemon digitalis (Mississippi penstemon)
Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)
Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed Susan)
Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod)
Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England aster)

 

From the Image Gallery


Carolina geranium
Geranium carolinianum

Spotted geranium
Geranium maculatum

Woodland sunflower
Helianthus divaricatus

Paleleaf woodland sunflower
Helianthus strumosus

Fringed loosestrife
Lysimachia ciliata

Scarlet beebalm
Monarda didyma

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Common evening-primrose
Oenothera biennis

Mississippi penstemon
Penstemon digitalis

Wild blue phlox
Phlox divaricata

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Gray goldenrod
Solidago nemoralis

More Trees Questions

Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
May 27, 2012 - In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
view the full question and answer

Damage from Hurricane Irene in Burgaw, NC
August 27, 2011 - We live in Burgaw, NC and have begun the clean up efforts of Hurricane Irene which has made a full grown crape myrtle lean to one side. Its a very large tree and it is not uprooted. Is there anyway ...
view the full question and answer

Difficulty of watering at drip line of trees from The Woodlands TX
August 18, 2011 - I'm watering my couple dozen native mature trees to make sure they survive this drought and its aftermath..and I'm reading about how to water at the drip line. But..all of my trees' drip lines ext...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen groundcover under pine tree in NY
May 23, 2008 - Hello! I live in upstate NY. I'm trying to find an evergreen ground cover to plant under a pine tree. I believe it's a white spruce (but I'm not postive). I've read conflicting information reg...
view the full question and answer

Red maple a casualty of Hurricane Ike in Houston
November 21, 2009 - We have a 3 year old Drummond Red Maple, between the sidewalk and the street in front of our house, that fell during Hurricane Ike. We replanted it. I recently noticed that the bark is severely cracke...
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