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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - April 16, 2012

From: Lexington, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Need a perennial plant for a cemetery plot in Lexington, KY.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What type of perennial plants to place on a cemetery plot in Lexington, KY. Receives afternoon sun.

ANSWER:

The first thing you need to do is to determine if there are any regulations by the management of the cemetery about what can be planted there, and also see if they have any plant recommendations. If planting is permitted, your next task is to determine whether you want herbaceous perennials, or shrubs, or perhaps a small tree. As you plan, keep in mind that the plants will need some care as they grow. One thing you can do is look around the cemetery and see what plantings are there; there may be some good examples as well as bad examples. This page makes a statement about what can happen to plants in cemeteries.

To consider plants, lets go to our Native Plant Database, scroll down to Recommended Species Lists, and click on View Recommended Species Page. Click on Kentucky on the map and you will get a list of 122 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Kentucky. That’s too many to cope with for now, so lets go to the Narrow Your Search Box on the right of the page and make the following selections: select Kentucky under State, Herb under General Appearance (we can come back and select shrub later), and Perennial under Lifespan. Check part shade under Light Requirement and Dry under soil moisture. Click the Narrow your search button and your list shrinks to seven native plant species. Clicking on the Scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which has information about the plant’s characteristics, its growth requirements, and in most cases images.

If you go back to the Narrow Your Search box and change your selection under General Appearance from Herb to Shrub, you will have a list of 12 shrubs to consider. You can generate new lists by changing the selections that you make.

 

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