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

Thursday - May 11, 2006

From: Milwaukee, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native flowers and ground cover for damp, shady area in Wisconsin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 plants. Any suggestions? I currently reside in Wisconsin.

ANSWER:

Here are a few suggestions for plants for that will grow in moist soil and shade in your area and are commercially available:

Yellow marsh-marigold (Caltha palustris)
Closed bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii Griseb.)
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Jacob's ladder (Polemonium occidentale)

I am not sure whether you are looking for blue flowers for the wet shaded area, or whether your blue flowers are for a different area with sun and drier soil. The Jacob's ladder above has flowers that are blue, and the following list contains blue flowers that require sun. Some prefer dry soil and some prefer wet. You can check out the Growing Conditions for each plant from the menu at the top of each page.

Great blue flag (Iris virginica)
Narrow-leaf blue-eyed- grass (Sisyrinchium angustifolium)
Sky-blue american aster (Symphyotrichum oolentangiense)
Blue larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum)

You can find more plants that fit your criteria by searching in the Native Plants Database. Choose Combination Search from the menu near the bottom of the page to select different criteria (e.g., Bloom Characteristics, Growing Conditions, etc.) for locating your plants. You can find sources for native plants in your area when you visit our National Suppliers Directory.
 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Planting shade plants in 100+ weather
June 25, 2009 - I was planning on planting some columbines in a barrel and Turk's Cap and Coralberry in my yard, but hadn't counted on the extreme heat this early in the summer. Is it okay to plant these things as...
view the full question and answer

Shade and Rain Garden in South Carolina
May 08, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have two seperate but important questions for your mastery of native plant knowledge. First, I live in a thick, 112 ft. tall white oak forest. Therefore, there is lot...
view the full question and answer

Shade, Heat, Drought and Acidic Soil Tolerant Perennials for Las Vegas?
November 28, 2015 - What can I grow under my pine trees that is shade and heat (and acidity) tolerant? I live in Las Vegas, NV and would like perennials to plant under my pine trees.
view the full question and answer

Grasses for shade in McKinney TX
August 19, 2010 - Dear Sir, We have lived in the same house for 25 years and when we originally moved in we had St. Augustine sod installed and for several years it did very well until my trees started getting bigge...
view the full question and answer

Perennial phlox for partial shade
April 16, 2008 - I am planting a butterfly garden in a plot that gets sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon. I read that phlox does well in partial-shade areas, and was wondering which native, perennial phlox ...
view the full question and answer

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