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

Thursday - February 12, 2009

From: Decatur, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Shrubs
Title: Plants for a condo garden in Decatur GA
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I recently moved into a condo in Decatur (just outside Atlanta). I am now working on the back yard - just a patio and dirt right now. It is a small space and is shaded much of the day but does get some early and late sun. I would like to plant some shrubs that might flower and would be at least 3 feet tall in the area with morning sun and plant something interesting in the very shady corner. I am wary of azaleas because of their toxicity to dogs. I like the idea of native plants in the hopes that they will be more drought resistant. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

For the part sun area, Calycanthus floridus (eastern sweetshrub) might work for you. The flowers of this plant are visually interesting and have a very unusual, spicey fragrance. Other shrubs for that spot might be Fothergilla gardenii (dwarf witchalder), Fothergilla major (mountain witchalder), Illicium floridanum (Florida anisetree), Itea virginica (Virginia sweetspire), Morella cerifera (wax myrtle), and Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush).

In the shady spot, Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) is pretty in flower and eye-popping in fruit. Other possibilities are Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle), Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow), Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark) and Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood).

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for erosion of shaded slope in Bethesda MD
April 07, 2010 - I have an eastern facing heavily shaded slope in Bethesda, Md. that needs a few good native plants to keep it from eroding. Ferns are not doing well on it. They do much better in the flats. So, anythi...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for shade in McKinney TX
August 19, 2010 - Dear Sir, We have lived in the same house for 25 years and when we originally moved in we had St. Augustine sod installed and for several years it did very well until my trees started getting bigge...
view the full question and answer

Need evergreen hedge and groundcover for shade in Carmel, Indiana
September 27, 2010 - Our property is bounded by a fencerow that is wooded and mostly shaded by mulberry and hackberry trees during the growing months. We'd like to create a 5'+ tall evergreen barrier on the property li...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for shady area with sandy soil
September 23, 2008 - We have very sandy soil, is there any type of grass that will grow well. Also, very shady.
view the full question and answer

Michigan native plants for shady, low traffic area
May 10, 2006 - Hello, I am looking for a recommendation for a Michigan native groundcover. I live adjacent to the Rouge River watershed and want to buy the right thing. The location is shady, infrequently walked ...
view the full question and answer

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