Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - April 26, 2006

From: Long Beach, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Ferns, Shrubs, Vines
Title: Native plants with little sun and northern exposure for New York
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

I live in a co-op and want to fix up the backyard. The backyard area has a west area to plant with a northern exposure and little sun and I am looking to plant something to cover the area. I would like it to grow or climb. The backyard faces another building. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Though I'm not sure what your soil is like or what kind of moisture the backyard space receives, I can make a few initial suggestions of plants native to New York that might do well in your area.

For shade in the Northeast, ferns immediately come to mind:

Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
Crested Woodfern (Dryopteris cristata)
New York Fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis)

A well-known groundcovering and climbing vine native to your area that can also tolerate shade is Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

I don't know how large your space is, but moderate-sized New York shrubs that can grow in shade include Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) and Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia).

You can get more ideas by perusing our Regional Factpack for the Northeast, and be sure and check our National Suppliers Directory when you're ready to purchase plants.

 

More Vines Questions

Evergreen vine for Wimberley, Texas
June 02, 2009 - I live in the hill country in Wimberley Texas. I am looking for a fast growing, blooming evergreen vine for a privacy lattice wall between small houses. Can you recommend one of several plants? Thank ...
view the full question and answer

Vine for yard with morning sun in California
May 24, 2014 - Hi, What is a good perennial vine to grow on the front of our house? We would like a fragrant flower too. It will be on a wood support beam, helping cover some pipes we have there. It will be an e...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Crossvine from San Antonio
September 03, 2011 - I have a new Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata) that has a single seedpod so far. What is the best way to plant it for the best chances for success? It is still green and a very hot August. Do I plant ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for memorial garden in Michigan
March 04, 2008 - I want to start a memorial garden for my daughter. I live in northern Michigan and the area has very tall white pines we have pruned them up about 15' so the area does get partial sun. Which plants w...
view the full question and answer

South Austin Groundcovers for Oak Shade
March 29, 2013 - Hi! I live in S. Austin now but used to work at the Wildflower Center! My backyard is shady with several oak mots. Do you have any suggestions as to what if any ground cover will grow in all that sha...
view the full question and answer

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