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 - June 02, 2011

From: St. Paul, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Bee-attracting vine for shade from St. Paul MN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I need a vine for shade that attracts bees. I am in Minnesota, zone 4a. Thanks

ANSWER:

We first went to our Native Plant Database and searched on Minnesota and "vine" under General Appearance. This yielded 48 possibilities, which seemed a lot to search individually, so we tried Recommended Species, which gave us exactly 2 vines recommended for Minnesota:

Celastrus scandens (American bittersweet) which had this information (follow the plant link to read our entire webpage)

"Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts, seeds. Low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of conciousness. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Attracts: Birds"

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper),

"Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Berries. Highly Toxic, May be Fatal if Eaten! Symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, bloody vomiting and diarrhea, dilated pupils, headache, sweating, weak pulse, drowsiness, twitching of face. Toxic Principle: Oxalic acid and possibly others. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.) Also, the plants tissues contain raphides, which can irritate the skin of some people. It is far less likely to irritate, and less irritating than, Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron radicans), though, which it somewhat resembles and with which it is often confused.
 Attracts: Birds"

So, that's ought for two. We'll go back and see what we can find out in the other 46 vines from Minnesota. We narrowed the search down this time by indicating the need for shade in our search. This yielded exactly one vine that fit your specification:

Clematis virginiana (Devil's darning needles) - attracts hummingbirds and bees

We went on another tangent, searching the Internet on "bee plants for Minnesota."

Supporting Pollinators: Bee-Friendly Plants - Minnesota

Why Be Wild Bee Friendly? Minnesota Department of Conservation

Bees in Minnesota? What Bees?

None of these websites mentioned vines. If you are more interested in vines than bees, you can probably find a number of vines that would work in your chosen area. If you are more interested in bees than in vines for shade, then all of these articles have good information on regular herbaceous blooming plants that attract bees. They are not necessarily plants native to Minnesota, so they are out of our realm of expertise.

Also, consider reading the book Bringing Nature Home by Douglas W. Tallamy. See Bibliography below.

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Grass for shade under Post Oaks in Austin
October 04, 2008 - Can you recommend a water conserving grass for shade under Post Oaks in Austin. Very gravelly poor nutrient soil. thanks!
view the full question and answer

Plants for border garden in shade in Austin
March 15, 2009 - Need suggestion for what to plant in a border garden. We live in northwest Austin and the garden is north-facing and shaded. Currently are oleanders but they don't get enough sun. Also growing are...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover plants for a shady North Carolina yard
March 20, 2016 - Ground cover erosion control for heavily shaded area in Cary, North Carolina. Current landscapers use strong blowers for leaf control. This blows away any seeds, loose soil and mulch. Tree roots ar...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA
January 30, 2012 - What shrubs can I plant on a wet slope that gets partial sun that will help control erosion? They need to be something the deer won't eat! We have lots of deer.
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade
August 19, 2008 - I live in hot, humid Houston and the tree coverage of my yard is nearly 100 percent (so, little sunlight reaches the ground). Can you suggest a plant or two that would thrive in these conditions?
view the full question and answer

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