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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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Sunday - January 16, 2005

From: Adrian, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native perennials for moist shade in Missouri
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live near Adrian, Mo (s of KC by an hour). I currently have a small hillside that is covered by trees and shaded all day and also seems to hold moisture really well. The hill seems to grow a little bit of grass but mostly tall weeds that I weedeat once or twice a year. My questions are 1) is there a wildflower I could plant that would survive year after year based on these conditions; and 2) if there is, can I plant in the spring?

ANSWER:

There are several perennials that come to mind that will thrive in the shade and in moist soil and are native Missouri. Here are several suggestions: red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), red trillium (Trillium sessile), and the hooded blue violet (Viola sororia). In the Native Plants Database on the Wildflower Center's web page you can use the Advanced Search mode to search for more flowers that are native to Missouri by using a variety of criteria, e.g., Bloom Characteristics, Growth Form, etc. This will give you a list of flowers with thumbnail sketches. When you see one that appeals to you, select it and you will get a page with information about the plant. At the top of the information page is a menu bar listing several choices: Taxonomy, Benefits, Bloom, Growing Conditions, etc. If you choose Growing Conditions, you can find suggestions for propagation, seed collection, and seed treatment.

You can find suppliers of native plants in your area on the Wildflower Center web page by selecting "Explore Plants" from the side bar and then choosing "Suppliers Directory". You will then be able to search "Nurseries" and/or "Seed Companies" for suppliers of native plants in your state or region.
 

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