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 Herbs/Forbs Questions

Locating ruda plants in Florida
January 24, 2009 - Where I can find or who sells Ruda plants? in the Miami, Florida area ?
view the full question and answer

Shasta Daisies without Petals
August 21, 2014 - My shasta daisies do not have the white petals, only the yellow center is in bloom. There are no visible signs of insects. They get a good amount of sun - about 5 hours per day. What could be the prob...
view the full question and answer

Texas native plants for cemetery site
February 09, 2005 - I am trying to landscape my mothers gravesite located in far East Texas (just outside of Nacogdoches) and I am looking for some evergreen bushes or any other decorative plants for that area. I am thi...
view the full question and answer

Plants to hide utility boxes
July 16, 2008 - What are suggestions for plants to plant around utilities boxes (3 of them clustered together) to effectively camouflage them but be attractive. We will outline a larger area in brick, plant evergree...
view the full question and answer

Using a brush hog on acreage on Bear Creek in Austin, TX.
July 25, 2012 - We have 8 acres off 1826 situated on Bear Creek. It has open areas with scattered large trees (cedar elm, live oak, white oak). Cedars or junipers only along the the lot lines. We've been told we...
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