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
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

Plants for shade, poor soil in Park Ridge NJ
June 17, 2010 - Hello! I live in far northeast New Jersey, by the New York state border. I am looking for plants for areas of my lawn that nothing currently grows in - due to shade and poor soil quality - very rocky,...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in shade in Iowa
July 02, 2010 - I work for a small non-profit shelter here in Dubuque, Ia. that has a very steep slope behind the building that needs some sort of plant or grass planted to stop erosion. The slope gets little to no s...
view the full question and answer

Is straggler daisy deer resistant from Austin
October 08, 2012 - Is straggler daisy (horseherb) deer resistant? We have lots of deer in our NW Hills, Austin neighborhood, and a lot of shade where not much will grow. Is that plant a good candidate for ground cover...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for small pots in sun in Austin
January 24, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! We are renting our house, so while we have a yard, the landlord would prefer us to only add plants to his landscaping in pots. I have filled some large ones, but have been una...
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
August 11, 2013 - Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
view the full question and answer

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