Rent Shop 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
1 rating

Wednesday - April 29, 2009

From: Rockford,, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shrub for shade in Rockford IL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Rockford, IL and would like to know what kind of bush to plant in pretty much, full shade. I would prefer to stay away from evergreens due to allergies. Thanks.

ANSWER:

We are assuming when you say "evergreen," you are referring to the conifers like juniper and spruce, which are well-known for being a bigger threat with allergens. There are shrubs that are not conifers that maintain green leaves year-round, but there probably isn't a big selection of those for Illinois. Anyway, we will go to our Recomended Species section, click on Illinois on the map, and then use Narrow Your Search, selecting on "shrubs" under habit, and "shade" or "part shade" under Light Requirements.We consider "sun" to be 6 hours or more of sun daily, "part shade" 2 to 6 hours of sun, and "shade" less than 2 hours of sun. Follow each plant link to the webpage on that individual plant, and read about its preferred soils, water use and other characteristics. If you would like more information on it, go to the bottom of that page, and you will find a link to Google on that plant.

Shrubs for shade in Illinois

Amelanchier arborea (common serviceberry) - deciduous, 6 to 12 ft. tall, blooms white, pink June to September, part shade, shade, water use high

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea) -  deciduous, 3 to 5 ft. tall, blooms white March and April, part shade, shade, water use low

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush) - evergreen, 6 to 12 ft. tall, blooms white, pink June to September, part shade, shade, water use high

Cornus alternifolia (alternateleaf dogwood) - deciduous, 20 to 35 ft. tall, blooms white May and June, part shade, shade, medium water use

Cornus sericea (redosier dogwood) - deciduous, 6 to 12 ft., blooms white May and June, part shade

Diervilla lonicera (northern bush honeysuckle) - deciduous to 3 ft., blooms red, orange, yellow, purple June to August, water use low, part shade, shade

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry) - deciduous to 6 ft., blooms white, green April to July, low water use, shade, part shade

Viburnum prunifolium (blackhaw) - deciduous, 12 to 15 ft., blooms white April and May, medium water use, part shade


Amelanchier arborea

Ceanothus americanus

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Cornus alternifolia

Cornus sericea

Diervilla lonicera

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Viburnum prunifolium

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Texas native shade plants for metal troughs in Austin
December 22, 2012 - Interested in finding Texas natives that would do well in metal troughs in the shade.
view the full question and answer

Plants for narrow planter boxes in San Antonio
October 02, 2010 - We have a narrow flower planter box in three sections above a french drain in front of our house. The box is about 2 feet high (filled with Gardenville soil) above a french drain covered with filter ...
view the full question and answer

Grapeland, TX is NOT Grapevine, TX
July 25, 2013 - I submitted a question and today received my answer. I do thank you for this valuable service. However, I stated that I lived in East Texas in GRAPELAND, Tx. Nan Hampton answered me and said that a...
view the full question and answer

Necessary sun exposure for Eves Necklace
November 12, 2008 - How little sun can the tree Eve's Necklace receive and still be happy and healthy? I have an intended spot that gets about 3, maybe 4 hours, some of that will be hot afternoon sun in the summer. Th...
view the full question and answer

Grass or ground cover for sun/part shade in Austin
December 30, 2007 - I live in Southwest Austin (a couple of miles from the Wildflower Center) and I would like to plant some grass in my backyard. I have a small yard with several oak trees and they have been cut back to...
view the full question and answer

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