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 - 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 Wildflowers Questions

Digging up and transplanting wild plants in Alloway NJ
July 01, 2010 - I saw some wild growing black eyed susans in a passing field so I dug some up this weekend and planted them in my garden now they look like they are dying. Do you think they will come back next year ?...
view the full question and answer

Short wildflowers to interplant with grass in PA
July 05, 2011 - I live in NE PA and would like to grow short wildflowers throughout my yard mixed in with my grass. Is this possible? If so, what would be a good match for my zone? I will be mowing the grass once a w...
view the full question and answer

When can native wildflower mix seeds be planted from Rosenberg TX
May 30, 2012 - I received a package of "All Native Wildflower Mix". The package says plant in Spring. Is too late to plant now or should I wait for next March?
view the full question and answer

Butterfly Garden, non-poisonous to Dogs, in Taylor MI
March 27, 2014 - I have a small fenced yard with a patio that my dogs have free access to. I would like to create a butterfly garden and add other plants that are non toxic to my dachshunds. Any suggestions. I am f...
view the full question and answer

Planting time for bluebonnets
April 23, 2007 - When is the best time to plant bluebonnets?
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