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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - November 25, 2005

From: St. Louis, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Small evergreen native shrubs for apartment garden in shade in St. Louis
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in an apartment in St. Louis, MO, and have a small patch of rocky soil in the stairwell that I would like to plant with a native or natives. The area is entirely shaded, but all the natives I've found that do well in full shade require a moist soil. Can you recommend any plants that might grow well here? Thank you!

ANSWER:

You don't say exactly how large your area is, but I am assuming it is rather small. You probably are looking for evergreen or semi-evergreen plants that are not too large. One good candidate is asemi-evergreen, low-spreading shrub Prairie Sagebrush (Artemisia frigida). One drawback for it is that its pollen can cause hay fever. Lyre-leaf Sage (Salvia lyrata) makes a very good evergreen ground cover that will grow in the shade in most soil types. It will require some watering. There are several perennial flowers that are not evergreen that will grow in partial shade in poor soils—for instance, Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Blue Larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum), and Prairie Verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida).

You can search for more possiblities in the Native Plant Database by doing a combination search selecting type of Growth Habit (e.g., Herb, Subschrub, Shrub, etc.), Light Needs, Water Use, Soil Moisture and by selecting Missouri from the U. S. Distribution column. You can also search for a nursery or seed company that specializes in native plants in your area in the National Suppliers Directory.
 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Disagreement with HOA on raised beds placed beneath mature oak from Tequesta FL
April 05, 2014 - I have mature 30 year old oak trees on my property and I put a raised bed under each with very good soil and I used pavers for retaining the soil about about 1.5 ft high. I planted a perennial begonia...
view the full question and answer

Plants to disguise plastic rainbarrels in dry shade
April 29, 2008 - What plants would you recommend to disguise blue plastic rainbarrels in dry shade?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for sun/part shade in Austin
May 07, 2008 - I live in Southwest Austin and I have a small backyard that has part sun/part shade. I have no grass in the backyard and my soil is not the healthiest, so I would like to plant some groundcover versus...
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

Native plants for heavy clay soil in east Austin
May 02, 2007 - I live in East Austin and have very thick clay soil on my property. I also have a lot of shade and partial sun/shade. Can you suggest some native plant varieties that are well-adapted to these condi...
view the full question and answer

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