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

Tuesday - September 10, 2013

From: East Hampton, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Planting, Shade Tolerant, Ferns, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Starting shade-tolerant ground covers in New York
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hi, I have seen some of the posts for shade-tolerant ground cover on the east end of Long Island and my question is process related. Now that I've identified the grasses/plants I need to keep my front yard out of my back yard every time it rains, how to? I can't afford a landscaper. Do I just buy the seed over the Internet or do I buy live plants and hope for the best? How much do I buy to cover 1000 square feet? So it doesn't look crazy, is there a method to the placement? As you can see, I am out of my element to say the least.

ANSWER:

If you haven't already checked this category in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database, click on Mr. Smarty Plants on the upper right side of the screen and type into the Search by Keywords space "Ground covers for shade in NY".  This will bring up a number of questions and answers to topics like yours.  You can get useful tips from some of these.   With respect to your need to know how to proceed with the plants you finally choose, I suggest that you click on How To articles on the Plant Database page and consult "Caring for your new native plants" and "Gardening timeline". 

Not knowing which species you have picked out, I cannot offer specific advice.  Some species can be planted in the fall while others would be better started in the spring.  I suggest that you consult experts in one of your local plant nurseries. They can give you the information you need for your particular site.  And they can inform you as to whether rooted plant or seeds are your best option for getting started.  If seeds are appropriate the supplier often indicates the optimal number of seeds to sow per square foot.

Before talking with suppliers it would be well to type the common or botanical name of each plant you have chosen into the Plant Database and read the description that appears.  You will often find good advice there regarding the planting and care of the species.

You are setting out on a very exciting experience with native plants.  I feel certain that you will find it rewarding.

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
February 07, 2012 - Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
view the full question and answer

Native shade plants around fountain in California
March 18, 2009 - Hi, we just put a fountain in our front yard. It is in a mostly shady area. I need to know what plants would go best around the fountain and survive in the shade.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen Deck Plant for Oregon
May 29, 2011 - Need evergreen shrub to grow in shade in container 5ft tall for deck.
view the full question and answer

Flower color under large pine tree from South Elgin IL
April 05, 2013 - I have a very large pine tree that I would like to plant some flowers under. I have hostas, stonecrop and fern, but like to add some color. What do you suggest? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Foundation garden in shade in Durham, NC
April 29, 2009 - I'm trying to replant a 3'x8' garden near the foundation of our house in Durham, NC. This part of the yard gets little, if any, sun and is mostly clay. I've tried adding compost and soil conditi...
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