Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Thursday - December 17, 2015

From: San Francisco, CA
Region: California
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Wildflowers
Title: Perennials for Sandy Shade in California
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Are there any native perennials that would do well in sandy shade? I have a difficult corner in my garden that does not get much sun. The soil is sandy though I have added some amount of compost to enrich it.

ANSWER:

Keep adding compost as often as you can to your sandy soil and your perennials will fare better over time. There are some native California perennials that will tolerate dry shade - although they will bloom less, stretch more and be less sturdy in this type of location. To find a list of these plants, visit the Native Plant Database page on our website.  Select the following criteria to narrow your search: California, Herb, Perennial, Shade and Dry Soil.

Some perennials for sandy shade to consider are:

Antennaria parvifolia (small-leaf pussytoes)

Fragaria chiloensis (beach strawberry)

Geum triflorum (old man's whiskers)

Heuchera maxima (island alumroot)

Maianthemum stellatum (starry false lily of the valley)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia spiderwort)

Whipplea modesta (common whipplea)

 

From the Image Gallery


Small-leaf pussytoes
Antennaria parvifolia

Beach strawberry
Fragaria chiloensis

Old man's whiskers
Geum triflorum

Island alumroot
Heuchera maxima

Starry false lily of the valley
Maianthemum stellatum

Virginia spiderwort
Tradescantia virginiana

Common whipplea
Whipplea modesta

More Wildflowers Questions

Early wildflowers for PA
November 25, 2011 - What spring wildflower is the first to bloom in Erie, PA?
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnets and Texas
March 20, 2004 - Can I plant Bluebonnets outside of Texas?
view the full question and answer

Planting time and method for bluebonnets in Leander, TX
May 13, 2010 - What month is the right month to plant the bluebonnet seeds? September or October? Is the correct way to plant is by "throwing" them on top of the ground? I have a grassy area and I like them...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
April 19, 2007 - Are pink bluebonnets still considered very rare? I discovered several growing amongst normal blues on the National Instruments corporate campus here in Austin. I wasn't sure if the Wildflower Cente...
view the full question and answer

Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
July 30, 2012 - Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.