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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.

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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.

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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!

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Wednesday - July 03, 2013

From: Benton, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Looking for shrubs to plant in Southern Illinois.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hi. I am in Southern Illinois. I'm needing small shrubs for a south facing area. It's a 14ft. long by 2ft. wide area. Although it's facing south, it's not real sunny. A huge tree and swing is in front of this area. Not real sure whether to get evergreens or something that has color or flowers. I'm just wanting any ideas on shrubs that are smaller and compact. Thanks for any advice!

ANSWER:

To get started, lets go to our Native Plant Database  where you can search for 7,663 plants native to North America by scientific or common name. Since you are looking for a list of plants that you might consider planting, the Combination Search option is a good place to begin.

Scroll down to the Combination Search Box and make the following selections: select Illinois under state, Shrub under Habit, and Perennial under Duration. Check Part shade under Light requirement, and Dry under Soil Moisture. Click on the Submit combination Search button, and you will get a list of 45 native plants meeting these criteria that grow in Illinois. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, growth requirements and and characteristics as well as images. You can redo the search and alter the criteria, eg check Sun instead of Part shade, and get adifferent list.

For some help closer to home, I would suggest contacting the University of Illinois Extension agent for Franklin County . On the web, if you go to the Extension’s site called hort corner, you will find a feature entitled Selecting Shrubs for Your Home. It is interactive, and should be very helpful.

Good luck with your planting.

 

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