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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - June 09, 2013

From: Mt Washington, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Wildflowers
Title: Plants for a Shady Woodland in MA
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Hello, I am looking for natives to plant in full shade or part shade. My house is in the mountain woodland area of Mt. Washington, MA. I am looking for grasses, flowers and shrubs. Also I am looking for natives to plant along a creek where the soil is always wet.

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 – Massachusetts, Habit – shrubs, and then search again for grasses and herbs (for herbaceous), Duration – perennial, Light Requirement – full shade and part shade, and Soil Moisture - moist. You can further narrow down the list of potential plants by indicating whether you prefer a deciduous or evergreen plants, specific blooming times or blooming colors.
The result is 100 shrubs, 224 herbaceous and 59 grasses to consider.
Some of the plants that met your criteria include:

Shrubs
Amelanchier sanguinea (roundleaf serviceberry)
Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel)
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)
Viburnum lantanoides (hobblebush)
Perennials
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)
Filipendula rubra (Queen of the prairie)
Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower)
Grasses
Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)
Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)
Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)




 

From the Image Gallery


Jack in the pulpit
Arisaema triphyllum

Jack in the pulpit
Arisaema triphyllum

Swamp milkweed
Asclepias incarnata

Queen of the prairie
Filipendula rubra

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Roundleaf serviceberry
Amelanchier sanguinea

Mountain laurel
Kalmia latifolia

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Hobblebush
Viburnum lantanoides

Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

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