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?


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

Wednesday - July 03, 2013

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


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!


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.


More Shrubs Questions

Pruning and deadheading rosa rugosa while blooming
August 01, 2008 - Can you prune the dead flowers and branches of rosa rogosa while it is still blooming?
view the full question and answer

Do Deer Eat Orchid Trees?
March 08, 2013 - I have planted three anacacho orchid trees, however we have a lot of deer around us. Is this a tree they will want to eat? Do you have any ideas to keep deer away?
view the full question and answer

Questions about care and pruning of Mexican Plum and Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
January 24, 2012 - I have a couple of questions regarding tree care and pruning. I have a Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana), about 10 years old or so. I would like to prune it. Is it ok to prune now in late wi...
view the full question and answer

Leucophyllum Resistant to Verticillium Wilt
March 25, 2015 - I need to know which large shrubs are resistant to verticillium wilt? I believe that a few of our Elaeagnus have succumbed to this disease, but being over 15 years old, I am not positive. I am thinki...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bank too steep to mow
June 24, 2009 - Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions? ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center