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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

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