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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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Sunday - February 21, 2016

From: Cathedral City, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Laws, Groundcovers, Vines
Title: Flowering Shade Plant for California
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have a house north facing that has a "flower bed" in front that unfortunately is shaded 100% of the time. There are roses in the bed currently (they came with the house) but they do poorly. We are looking to put something in that might be a bit more tolerant of the shading conditions and produce some flowers to have a more inviting home to enter. I was thinking star jasmine, would that work well?

ANSWER:

Star jasmine (also called confederate jasmine or Chinese star jasmine) is not a native North American plant so it is not in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database. It is scientifically called Trachelospermum jasminoides and according to wikipedia is a woody evergreen vine growing to about 10 feet high. It will flower in full sun, partial shade, or total shade, and requires well-drained soil (if constantly kept damp it may succumb to fungal infection), moderate water, moderate fertilizer, and a climbing structure (whether a trellis or another plant is secondary). It is widely planted in California and also particularly in the Southeastern United States, where its hardiness, confined to USDA Zones 8-10.

I have seen this plant used successfully as a groundcover in the Austin, Texas area and just occasionally trimmed to keep it neat and dense.

If you would like to try a native plant for your shady front garden, False lily of the valley (Maianthemum dilatatum) is an aggressive groundcover with small clusters of white flowers in early summer. It is a tough plant that grows well in shady moist locations.

Also Sweet After Death (Achlys triphyla) is a spreading groundcover that has white flower clusters in early summer on a narrow spike with large leaves. It also likes moist shade sites.

 

From the Image Gallery


False lily of the valley
Maianthemum dilatatum

Sweet after death
Achlys triphylla

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