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

Monday - March 25, 2013

From: TOTOWA, NJ
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Shade-loving plants for birds in New Jersey
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What native plants should I add to my property, Zone 6, to feed birds naturally? I have a heavily treed lot, so I'd like names of shade loving perennials. Seed or fruit bearing options would be great. I've discovered Gaultheria, and my garden center could get it for me. Please answer as quickly as possible, so that I can get them in at the end of April or early May. My Town is up in arms over birders.

ANSWER:

Gaultheria procumbens (Eastern teaberry) is certainly an excellent choice for a low-growing evergreen plant with berries attractive to birds and is native to New Jersey.

Below is a list of other plants native to your area that have fruits or flowers that are attractive to birds and will grow in part shade or shade.  They range in size from heights of 2 inches up to 30 or so feet.

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry) grows to 20 feet in sun, part shade or shade.

Eutrochium purpureum (Purple joepyeweed) grows to 6 feet in sun, part shade or shade.

Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower) grows to 6 feet in sun, part shade or shade and is especially attractive to hummingbirds.

Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum (Feathery false lily of the valley) grows to 3 feet in part shade and shade.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) grows to only 2 inches high in part shade and shade.

Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry) grows to 30 feet in sun, part shade or shade.

Vaccinium angustifolium (Late lowbush blueberry) grows to 2 feet high in sun, part shade or shade.

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry) grows in partial shade to 12 feet.

Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa (Red elderberry) grows in shade to 20 feet.

You can also go to the New Jersey Recommended page to find a list of commercially available plants native to your area.  If you use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option on that page, you can limit the list to plants that will grow in the shade and then scan through the list for those plants with fruits that are used by birds.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

Canadian serviceberry
Amelanchier canadensis

Purple joepyeweed
Eutrochium purpureum

Cardinal flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Feathery false lily of the valley
Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana

Lowbush blueberry
Vaccinium angustifolium

Eve's necklace
Styphnolobium affine

Red elderberry
Sambucus racemosa var. racemosa

More Shrubs Questions

Are Texas Sage plants being harmed by nearby Rosemary.
June 08, 2015 - For 6+ years I've been growing Rosemary shrubs interspersed with Texas Sage. For the past two years the Texas Sage has been looking sickly and have not produced any flowers and the Rosemary is becom...
view the full question and answer

Potting soil recipe for azaleas
October 07, 2007 - I have a couple of Azaleas in pots that need repotting.I can't remember the recipe for the medium I put them in last time other than pine bark mulch. I think there were three ingredients. What is ...
view the full question and answer

Bird Attracting Shrub for NH
July 03, 2016 - I am trying to attract birds to my newly built home's front yard. I have no foliage out front near our picture window. I live in Londonderry, NH. What bush or shrub can I plant that will attract bird...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub in South Carolina
December 12, 2011 - First, I'm in Iraq but trying to write a book and have a question on a plant that grows in South Carolina. All I can do is describe it. The bush is normally green but turns red, has large leaves, kin...
view the full question and answer

Care of Northern honeysuckle bush
April 26, 2009 - I have a honeysuckle bush, I have had it for about year to two years. I would like to know if I should cut the brown parts off. There are some vines that do not look good, but some of the branches ha...
view the full question and answer

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