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

Friday - November 29, 2013

From: Basile, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Colorful flowering plants in shade of live oak in Louisiana
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What colorful flowering plants can be grown near the shady base of live oak trees in the Deep South?

ANSWER:

For colorful flowering plants that grow in the shade I can give you a long list or you can look for them yourself by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and choosing "Louisisana" from the Select State or Province option, "Herb" or "Shrub" from the Habit (general appearance) and "Shade - Less than 2 hours of sun per day" under Light requirement.  There are other criteria you can choose as well.  Here are some representative plants from a search the criteria above and "Herb" under Habit (general appearance).  :

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Iris brevicaulis (Zigzag iris)

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)

Oenothera biennis (Common evening-primrose)

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel)

Phlox divaricata (Wild blue phlox)

Ruellia nudiflora (Violet ruellia)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

Salvia coccinea (Scarlet sage)

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage)

Solidago altissima (Tall goldenrod)

Viola missouriensis (Missouri violet)

There are many more possibilities.

There may be a problem growing plants under your oak tree, not just because it will be shady but because the oak tree has an allelopathic effect on some other plants.  Allelopathy is a situation where a plant releases a chemical that has an effect on another plant.  The effect may be beneficial or harmful, but the ones we hear about the most are those that are harmful to another plant.  One of best known of the allelopathic plants is the walnut tree (Juglans spp.).  It has a very strong effect on most plants attempting to grow beneath it.  Trees with a lesser allelopathic effect include oaks, hackberries and eucalyptus trees.  Red oaks, which in your area would probably be Quercus falcata (Southern red oak) are mentioned more often than other oak trees.  You can read more about allelopathy in this article, Allelopathic plants: nature's weedkillers.  That said, not all plants are susceptible to the oak's chemicals.  Some plants can grow under oaks.  Unfortunately, there are no lists of plants that will grow under oaks although you can find lists of ones that will grow under the allelopathic walnut trees.  Since live oaks don't appear as large threats as allelopathic sources, your challenge will probably be getting plants that will do well in the shade.  Those above should all do well in the shade.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Zigzag iris
Iris brevicaulis

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Common evening-primrose
Oenothera biennis

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Wild blue phlox
Phlox divaricata

Violet ruellia
Ruellia nudiflora

Black-eyed susan
Rudbeckia hirta

Scarlet sage
Salvia coccinea

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Tall goldenrod
Solidago altissima

Missouri violet
Viola missouriensis

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, Arizona
November 07, 2007 - Would you recommend a fast growing shade tree for Phoenix, AZ that will grow at least 30 ft. high and with a similar canopy in clay soil?
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
August 11, 2013 - Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
view the full question and answer

Smoky Mountains Shaded Slope Plant Suggestions
April 29, 2013 - We live in a very shady spot in Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. We would like to plant vegetation on a sloped area behind our cottage to stop erosion after building an addition. Our h...
view the full question and answer

Need perennials for a long shady bed in Wantagh, NY.
May 25, 2010 - Looking for perennials to be planted in long narrow beds that receive mostly shade with late day sun. Reside in Long Island, New York. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Dallas in shade and partial shade
June 02, 2010 - What ground cover plants will grow in full shade- partial shade in the clay soil of Dallas?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center