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 Shade Tolerant Questions

Plant for part sun in Nampa Idaho
May 20, 2010 - What could I plant in arid SW Idaho on the northwest side of my house along a border against the house? Most of the day this area is in shade, but at the hottest time of the day it gets a couple of h...
view the full question and answer

What will grow under neighbor's overhanging tree in Grosse Pointe Woods MI
May 29, 2011 - My next door neighbor has a beautiful tree that is easily 60 years old and thus not going anywhere. Unfortunately, for me the roots of this tree have extended under a large corner of my back yard. Add...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for shade in Ennis TX
August 26, 2011 - My house faces south. The southwest side of the front yard has a Pride of Houston, Japanese Barberry, 2 crape myrtles and some dwarf yaupon hollies. The other section, divided by a stairway to the p...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Flowers or plants for no-sun area in Nova Scotia
March 14, 2009 - What kind of flowers or plants can I plant in my rock garden that gets virtually no sun? I have wasted so much money on plants that were guaranteed to grow.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center