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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.

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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.

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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!

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Thursday - May 02, 2013

From: Elkhart, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Planting, Soils, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Trees
Title: Flowers under pine trees from Elkhart Indiana
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a number of pine trees at the back of my lot and would like to plant flowers under the tree. What can I plant?

ANSWER:

We have a very similar previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer for flowering plants under pine trees; it is, however, from Illinois. And, another one from New York, which also gives you instructions for using our National Suppliers Directory. So, we will use the same method detailed in the previous answers to find flowers that will grow in part shade, tolerate acidic soils and are native not only to North America but also to the area where they are to be grown; in your case, Elkhart County, IN. 

We will go to our Native Plant Database and, scrolling down the page to use the Combination Search, search on Indiana for the state, herbs (herbaceous blooming plants) for Habit, and "part shade" under Light Requirements. We will list some examples and you can go back to do your own search for different plants with different characteristics. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn bloom times and colors, mature heights, soils preferred and soil moisture for that plant. We ave checked each plant on our list with the USDA Plant Profile Maps to make sure they are native to your area and therefore compatible with your climate, soils and rainfall.

Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)

Aconitum uncinatum (Southern blue monkshood)

Agalinis purpurea (Purple false foxglove)

Anemone virginiana (Tall thimbleweed)

Aruncus dioicus (Bride's feathers)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Caltha palustris (Yellow marsh marigold)

Claytonia virginica (Virginia springbeauty)

Euphorbia marginata (Snow on the mountain)

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)

 Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (Roundlobe hepatica)

Lobelia siphilitica (Great blue lobelia)

 

From the Image Gallery


Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Southern blue monkshood
Aconitum uncinatum

Purple false foxglove
Agalinis purpurea

Tall thimbleweed
Anemone virginiana

Bride's feathers
Aruncus dioicus

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Yellow marsh marigold
Caltha palustris

Virginia springbeauty
Claytonia virginica

Snow on the mountain
Euphorbia marginata

Virginia strawberry
Fragaria virginiana

Roundlobe hepatica
Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa

Great blue lobelia
Lobelia siphilitica

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Shade tree with non-aggressive roots for next to pool in The Woodlands TX
April 26, 2011 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. We live in Spring, TX and are looking for a full-sun shade tree to plant in a large planter (about 6'x6') next to our pool. We want the tree to provide shade for our full a...
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Colorful native plants for oak tree shade in Houston
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May 25, 2010 - What type(s) of annual flowers can I plant along a driveway in northeast PA? The soil is very rocky and the area is mostly shady receiving only morning and some late afternoon sun.
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Native plants for partial shade in Pennsylvania
April 04, 2008 - Much of my growing area in Northern exposure, shade-partial shade once trees get leaves. I'm looking for native plants to use for screens and for ground-covers, grasses and edible plants.
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November 13, 2008 - First, thanks for answering my first question about Texas Native Trees for our new home! I have just started working on plans for our back yard and have a question about Texas Native Shade plants. W...
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