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

Friday - February 01, 2008

From: New City, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Suggestion for plants to replace grass in semi-shade in NY
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have an area that is in semi-shade but gets about 4-5 hours of sunlight in the summer. Instead of grass I would like to perhaps use wild flowers or even prairie type grasses. Any suggestions??

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants can recommend several ornamental prairie-type grasses that should do well in your partial shade. These can grow to 3 feet tall or more.

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

You might also consider one of the sedges. The following sedges are found in New York.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Another possibility is to use ferns.

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

Finally, here are some flowering plants that should do well in the area.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Geranium maculatum (spotted geranium)

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry)

Tiarella cordifolia (heartleaf foamflower)

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England aster)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

You can also find a list of New York Recommended plants on our web page for more possibilities.


Andropogon virginicus

Elymus canadensis

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Schizachyrium scoparium

Carex blanda

Carex pensylvanica

Carex texensis

Dryopteris marginalis

Polystichum acrostichoides

Osmunda cinnamomea

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Geranium maculatum

Mitchella repens

Tiarella cordifolia

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae

Rudbeckia hirta

Phlox divaricata

Aquilegia canadensis

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native understory plants for shade under live oaks
June 09, 2008 - I have large live oak trees in my front yard. I would like to start North Central Texas native landscaping under them, where no grass will grow. Do you know of some plants that would do well in ful...
view the full question and answer

Darkened leaves on blueberry bush
July 02, 2008 - I have a blueberry bush planted in a very large pot. It has been doing very well, producing berries and new growth. All of a sudden the leaves have begun to turn dark. I have it potted in good soil...
view the full question and answer

Will Thunder Turf do well in shade from Iola TX
June 23, 2010 - Will the Thunder Turf do well in shady areas or is there a better blend of native grasses that would thrive better?
view the full question and answer

Need Shade Trees for Entry in Poway, California
January 14, 2011 - Hi - Our front door gets a lot of afternoon sun, so we'd like to plant a couple of shade trees near the entry way. Unfortunately we don't have much room between our entry path and the driveway, so...
view the full question and answer

Part sun and part shade
October 19, 2004 - What is the difference between part sun and part shade?
view the full question and answer

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