Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
4 ratings

Wednesday - April 30, 2008

From: Halfmoon, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native shade plants for sandy soil in New York
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small patch (about 10 feet x 6 feet) of shady ground next to my house. The soil is very sandy. I really would like some perennial color - or at this point, anything actually - that will grow well in this area (zone 5). I would prefer native species, but will take whatever I can get! Thank you!

ANSWER:

We're glad you want native species, because that's all we at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommend. We have a Recommended Species section of our website, from which we have first selected New York, and then herbaceous perennials for 2 or less hours of sun a day. This gave us a list of 27 plants, from which we are going to try to find several that are colorful and will do well in sandy soil. Just in case you need some more variety in height, we also searched for shrubs with the same characteristics. There were 8 recommended, of which only one was evergreen, but that's probably what you expect in Zone 5. From these two lists, we are going to select several of each that will grow in sandy soil and tolerate that much shade. All of them would probably bloom more if there was more than 2 hours of sun a day; our definition of "part shade" is 2 to 6 hours a day. When you're ready to start planting, here is a list of Native Plant Suppliers in your general area.

HERBACEOUS PERENNIALS

Anemone canadensis (Canadian anemone) - white blooms, April to June

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower - blue, purple blooms June to September

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - yellow blooms April to June

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - red blooms May to October

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia) - blue blooms July to October

Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine) - blue, purple blooms May to June

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm) - red blooms July and August

Rudbeckia laciniata (cutleaf coneflower) - yellow July to October

SHRUBS

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry) - evergreen, white, pink blooms June to August

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort) - yellow blooms June to August

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry) - white blooms May, June

Cornus alternifolia (alternateleaf dogwood) - white blooms May, June


Anemone canadensis

Campanula rotundifolia

Coreopsis lanceolata

Lobelia cardinalis

Lobelia siphilitica

Lupinus perennis

Monarda didyma

Rudbeckia laciniata

Gaultheria procumbens

Hypericum prolificum

Vaccinium angustifolium

Cornus alternifolia

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Colorful flowering plants in shade of live oak in Louisiana
November 29, 2013 - What colorful flowering plants can be grown near the shady base of live oak trees in the Deep South?
view the full question and answer

Grasses for yard in part shade and shade
January 11, 2009 - I have a shady yard with no grass whatsoever in San Marcos, TX. Since there are no roots to anchor the soil, the air (and the house) is full of dust. I want to plant a native grass that does well in f...
view the full question and answer

Flowers under pine trees from Elkhart Indiana
May 02, 2013 - I have a number of pine trees at the back of my lot and would like to plant flowers under the tree. What can I plant?
view the full question and answer

Shade loving plants with color for Irving, Texas
July 01, 2010 - Looking for shade loving perennials or annuals with color - native and low water. Live in Irving, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Drought Resistant Privacy Screen for North Side of Austin Texas House
July 10, 2016 - We live in the densely populated Mueller development, where there's barely 3 feet from our home to the 6 foot high privacy fence between us and the house next door. Since the houses are 2 stories, we ...
view the full question and answer

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