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

Wednesday - June 02, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Will Salvia coccinea bloom in shade in Houston?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Houston and I used your database tool to search for shade plants. I am particularly interested in plants that bloom and support native pollinators. My search returned salvia coccinea. Will this plant flower in shade? One of the spots gets no direct sunlight. Can you recommend any plants that do flower in the shade?

ANSWER:

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) is shown on our database as growing in sun (6 or more hours of sun daily), part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun) or shade (less than 2 hours of sun.) Growing and blooming are two different things. Any plant, no matter how shade tolerant, will bloom far better in some sun. The function of the flowers is to produce seeds, in order for the plant to propagate itself. If it cannot do so because of not enough sunlight, it will hardly be worth the space you have given to it. If your shade is that deep, you may have to satisfy yourself with plants like ferns that, while they do not bloom, do provide some color and texture in a shady spot. We will look in our database for plants tolerating shade, and give you some suggestions; however, we can't guarantee blooms, or at least enough blooming to attract the pollinators, who all prefer lots of flowers in an area. We suppose they are picky eaters and want a wide choice. 

Shade Tolerant Herbaceous Blooming Plants for the Houston Area:

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed) - sun, part shade or shade, attracts butterflies

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower) - sun, part shade or shade, nectar attracts hummingbirds, moths and insects

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox) - part shade or shade, flowers attract butterflies

Salvia coccinea (blood sage) - sun, part shade or shade, nectar attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies

Shade Tolerant Shrubs for the Houston Area:

Hydrangea quercifolia (oakleaf hydrangea) - shade, but no attraction for wildlife

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (wax mallow) - part shade or shade, nectar attracts hummingbirds, moths and insects, fruit attracts birds and small mammals

Shade Tolerant Ferns for the Houston Area:

Athyrium filix-femina (common ladyfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Coreopsis lanceolata

Lobelia cardinalis

Phlox divaricata

Salvia coccinea

Hydrangea quercifolia

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Athyrium filix-femina

Osmunda cinnamomea

 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Privacy hedge for shady area
March 27, 2009 - We are looking to plant a privacy hedge around the perimeter of our yard that will grow to 6 or 8 feet tall - some of the perimeter is exposed to sun and we will likely go with evergreen sumac - howev...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers and ground cover for damp, shady area in Wisconsin
May 11, 2006 - I would like to plant some flowers and ground cover in the front of my yard near my home. This spot is usually damp and nearly always shaded. Any suggestions? Also I'm looking for blue flowering pla...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees with a tap root
July 31, 2009 - I need a list of shade trees with a tap root system. I would also like the tree to grow at a medium to fast rate. I will be planting near a concrete wall and do not want the roots to do any damage to ...
view the full question and answer

Native moss to fill in between flagstones
April 21, 2008 - I live in Houston and have a long, narrow flagstone path that runs along the east side of the house. I am looking for a native moss that can fill in between the flagstones and will tolerate morning su...
view the full question and answer

Plants for xeriscape and shade
August 20, 2008 - I live in Jones county, Texas. I would like to xeriscape portions of my lawn. The soil is sandy, I have a lot of shaded lawn area. What plants do you recommend that would be low maintenace, low water ...
view the full question and answer

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