Selected species for native shade gardens

Always check the scientific name of a plant. A plant may have more than one common name or the same common name may refer to more than one plant.

 

Scientific name

Common name (flower color)

Recommended Space Between Plants

Understory Trees

Carpinus caroliniana

Blue Beech or Musclewood

15 feet

Ostrya virginiana

Ironwood

15 feet

Shrubs

Tall (average mature height over 15 feet)

Amelanchier laevis

Allegheny Clump Serviceberry or Juneberry

10-15 feet

Cornus alternifolia

Pagoda Dogwood

15 feet

Medium (average mature height: 6-15 feet)

Amelanchier alnifolia

Regent Serviceberry

5 feet

Cornus racemosa

Gray Dogwood

5 feet

Low (average mature height: 5 feet and under) 

Aronia melanocarpa

Black Chokeberry

3-5 feet

Symphoricarpos albus

White Snowberry

3 feet

Perennial Flowers (Full Shade)

Medium (most plants are 1-3 feet)

Aquilegia canadensis

Columbine (red-orange)

12 inches

Arisaema triphyllum

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

12 inches

Aster macrophyllus

Large-leaved Aster (white)

24 inches

Athyrium angustum

Lady Fern

24 inches

Geranium maculatum

Wild Geranium (pink)

12 inches

Podophyllum peltatum

Mayapple

18 inches

Smilacina racemosa

False Solomon Seal (white)

12 inches

Thalictrum dioicum

Early Meadowrue (green)

12 inches

Uvularia grandiflora

Bellwort or Merrybells (yellow)

18 inches

Low (plants are under 6 inches)

Asarum canadense

Wild Ginger (red)

18-24 inches

Hepatica americana

Hepatica (purple ? spring emphemeral)

6 inches

Sanguinaria canadensis

Bloodroot (white ? spring emphemeral, foliage disappears by mid-June)

6 inches

Perennial Flowers (Partial Shade)

Tall (most plants are 3-5 feet) 

Veronicastrum virginicum

Culver's Root (white)

12 inches

Medium (most plants are 2-4 feet) 

Aquilegia canadensis

Columbine (red-orange)

12 inches

Aster laevis

Smooth Aster (lavender)

18 inches

Aster macrophyllus

Big-leaved Aster (white)

24 inches

Geranium maculatum

Wild Geranium (pink)

12 inches

Smilacina racemosa

False Solomon's Seal (white)

12 inches

Low (plants are under 6 inches) 

Campanula rotundifolia

Harebells (purple)

6-12 inches

Fragaria virginiana

Wild Strawberry (white

12-18 inches

Gentiana andrewsii

Bottle Gentian (blue)

12 inches

Gentiana alba

Cream Gentian (cream)

12 inches

Grass-like Plants

Short

Carex pennsylvanica

Pennsylvania Sedge

12 inches

Juncus tenuis

Path Rush

6-12 inches

Vines (not shown on plan; could be grown along a fence or trellis)

Clematis virginiana

Virgin's Bower (white)

5-10 feet

Vitis riparia

Wild Grape

5-10 feet

 

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