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
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 Shade Tolerant Questions

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

Sedges and ornamentals for shade in Bastrop County
June 20, 2007 - I bought a home in Elgin, TX that was owned by an elderly woman. Most of the lawn is shaded by elm or pecan trees. In the sunny areas, i got native wildflowers to grow like lantana and coneflower,...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for part shade/shade in Oklahoma.
September 14, 2009 - I am looking for perennial ground covers for shade to part shade under red oaks in central Oklahoma. Soil condition is usually dry. Can you recommend some natives in addition to creeper for xeriscape?...
view the full question and answer

Low evergreen shrubs for shade in Spring TX
February 19, 2009 - I am looking for an evergreen plant that grows no taller than 2 feet and will grow in shade. I would love to have one that would also produce flowers. Please help and thanks.
view the full question and answer

Grasses for shady acreage in Paige, TX
February 10, 2009 - My family recently bought property in Paige, TX. We thinned out the dense vegetation leaving pines and some oak and juniper. The ground is now bare sand throughout much of the property, except for th...
view the full question and answer

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