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PLANT PREFERENCES

Ornamental plants have specific preferences when it comes to sun and shade, salt tolerance, moist or dry soils, and what season they should be transplanted. Here we have several lists of plant preferences for varying growing conditions and seasons in the northern United States.

 

Due to varying microclimates and onsite conditions, these plant lists should be considered a guide, not the final word.


 INDEX

  

SALT TOLERANT PLANTS

Whether it's salt granules from deicing operations, or salt spray from roadways, salt can be brutal on most plants. Below is a general list of plants considered to be the most tolerant of salt. The list should only be used as a rough guide since exceptions will occur.
  

Aesculus hippocastanum Common Horsechestnut
Amelanchier Serviceberry
Amorpha fruiticosa False Indigo
Aronia arbutifolia Red Chokeberry
Betula Birch
Carya cordiformis
  ovata
Bitternut Hickory
Shagbark Hickory
Catalpa speciosa Northern Catalpa
Celtis occidentalis Hackberry
Chionanthus virginicus White Fringetree
Clethra alnifolia Summersweet
Cotoneaster Cotoneaster
Eleagnus Russian Olive
Elymus arenarius Blue Lyme Grass
Erica Heath
Fraxinus Ash
Ginkgo Ginkgo
Gleditsia Honeylocust
Gymnocladus Kentucky Coffee Tree
Hamamelis Witch Hazel
Hemerocallis Daylily
Hippophae rhamnoides Sea Buckthorn
Hydrangea Hydrangea
Juglans nigra Black Locust
Liquidamber styraciflua Sweetgum
Magnolia Magnolia
Miscanthus sinensis Maiden Grass
Myrica pennsylvanica Northern Bayberry
Nyssa sylvatica Black / Sour Gum
Panicum virgatum Switch Grass
Parthenocissus quinquefolia Virginia Creeper
Philadelphus Mockorange
Photinia Photinia
Pinus mugho Mugo Pine
Populus Poplar
Potentilla fruiticosa Potentilla
Quercus bicolor
  macrocarpa
Swamp White Oak
Bur Oak
Rhodotypos Jetbead
Ribes alpinum Alpine Currant
Rhus glabra / typhina Smooth / Staghorn Sumac
Rosa rugosa Rugosa Rose
Salix Willow
Sambucus canadensis American Elderberry
Schizachyrium scoparium Little Bluestem
Spartina p. 'Aureomarginata' Cord Grass
Syringa reticulata
  pekinensis
Japanese Tree Lilac
Peking Lilac
Tamarix ramosissima Tamarix
Taxodium distichum Bald Cypress
Viburnum dentatum
  prunifolium
Arrowwood Viburnum
Blackhaw Viburnum
Waldstenia ternata Barren Strawberry
Yucca Yucca

  

SHADE TOLERANT PLANTS

Shade is one of the most limiting factors when attempting to grow attractive plants, especially when it's dry shade. Below is a general list of plants that will tolerate shade better than other varieties.
  

Amelanchier Serviceberry
Astilbe Astilbe
Berberis Barberry
Calycanthus Sweetshrub
Celastrus Bittersweet
Cercis Redbud
Chionanthus Fringetree
Clethra Clethra
Cornus Dogwood
Euonymus Euonymus
Ferns Ferns
Hamamelis Witchhazel
Hedera helix English Ivy
Hosta Hosta
Hydrangea quercifolia Oakleaf Hydrangea
Itea Itea
Kalmia Mountain Laurel
Leucothoe Leucothoe
Ligustrum Honeysuckle
Mahonia Oregon Grape
Pachysandra Pachysandra
Pieris Andromeda
Pyracantha Pyracantha
Rhamnus Buckthorn
Rhododendron Rhododendron
Rhodotypos Jetbead
Symphoricarpos Snowberry
Taxus Yew
Tsuga Hemlock
Viburnum Viburnum
Vinca minor Myrtle

  

PLANTS FOR DRY SOILS

Acer campestre Hedge Maple
Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea
Cornus drummondii Giant Gray Dogwood
Diervilla lonicera Bush Honeysuckle
Genista t. 'Royal Gold' Royal Gold Woadwaxen
Koelreutaria paniculata Golden Rain Tree
Lespedeza t. 'Gilbraltar' Gilbraltar Bushclover
Maackia amurense Amur Maackia
Maclura p. 'Whiteshield' Whiteshield Osage Orange
Myrica pennsylvanica Northern Bayberry
Quercus coccinea
  macrocarpa
  prinus
  rubra
Scarlet Oak
Bur Oak
Chestnut Oak
Red Oak
Rhus Sumac
Rosa rugosa Rugosa rose
Tamarix r. 'Pink Cascade' Pink Cascade Tamarix
Viburnum setigerum Tea Viburnum

 

PLANTS FOR WET SOILS

While very few plants will tolerate 'wet feet' (soggy soil) some varieties adapt better than others to wet soil. Below is a general list of plants that will tolerate wet conditions.
  

Acer rubrum Swamp (Red) Maple
Ajuga Bugleweed
Amelanchier Serviceberry
Aronia Chokeberry
Asimina triloba Paw Paw
Astilbe Astilbe
Betula nigra River Birch
Calycanthus floridus Sweet Shrub
Cephalanthus occidentalis Buttonbush
Clethra alnifolia Summersweet
Chionanthus Fringetree
Cornus alba / stolonifera Redtwig / Dogwood shrub
Forsythia Forsythia
Hemerocallis Daylilies
Hosta Hosta
Ilex verticillata Winterberry
Itea virginica Sweetspire
Lindera benzoin Spicebush
Magnolia virginiana Sweetbay Magnolia
Metasequoia Dawn Redwood
Miscanthus Maiden Grass
Myrica pennsylvanica Northern Bayberry
Nyssa sylvatica Black Gum
Platanus Sycamore
Populus Poplar
Quercus bicolor Swamp White Oak
Salix Willow
Sambucus Elderberry
Taxodium distichum Bald Cypress
Ulmus americana American Elm
Viburnum dentatum
  lentago
  trilobum
Arrowwood Viburnum
Nannyberry
American Cranberry

  

SPRING TRANSPLANTS

The old rule of thumb is to only transplant 'fleshy rooted' plants and oaks in the spring. While fall transplants may succeed with special care, below is a list of plants that are best transplanted in the spring.
  

Betula Birch
Cercis Redbud
Cornus Dogwood
Craetegus Hawthorn
Liriodendron Tulip Tree
Liquidambar Sweetgum
Magnolia Magnolia
Oxydendron Sourgum
Platanus Sycamore
Populus Poplar
Prunus Plum
Pyrus Pear
Quercus Oak
Salix Willow
Zelkova Zelkova

  

PLANTS RARELY GUARANTEED

The old saying is "Doctors don't guarantee life, so why should landscapers and nurserymen?"  However, common practice in the trade is to guarantee plants for one year (or one growing season). But due to experience from common planting failures, there are a few plants nurseries won't usually guarantee. Below is a list of these plants.
  

Azalea Azaleas
Cornus florida Flowering Dogwood
Rhododendron Rhododendrons
Rosa Roses
Tsuga Hemlocks

  

DEER RESISTANT PLANTS

The trickiest list of all is trying to name plants that deer don't like, because in the right situation, they will browse on just about anything. That being said, our experience shows the least preferred plants are those listed below. [Also see our Deer webpage]
  

Acer Maple
Aesculus parviflora Bottlebush Buckeye
Agastache Hyssop
Ageratum Ageratum
Antirrhinum Snapdragons
Aralia spinosa Devil's Walkingstick
Artemesia Silver Mound
Astilbe Astilbe
Baptesia australis False Indigo
Berberis Barberry
Betula Birch
Buxus Boxwood
Caryopteris Bluebeard
Cephalotaxus harringtonia Plum Yew
Cercis Redbud
Chaemomeles Quince
Chamaecyparis pisifera False Cypress
Clethra alnifolia Summersweet
Coreopsis verticillata Threadleaf Coreopsis
Cornus Dogwood
Cotoneaster Cotoneaster
Craetegus Hawthorn
Crocus Crocus
Dicentra Bleeding Heart
Echinacea Coneflower
Elaeagnus Russian Olive
Fagus Beech
Forsythia Forsythia
Fraxinus Ash
Gleditsia Honeylocust
Gingko Gingko
Helleborus Christmas Rose
Ilex glabra Inkberry
Iris Iris
Larix Larch
Lavandula Lavender
Leucothoe Leucothoe
Ligularia Ligularia
Liquidamber Sweetgum
Liriodendron Tulip Tree
Magnolia Magnolia
Mahonia Oregon Grape
Microbiota decussata Siberian Cypress
Miscanthus Maiden Grass
Myrica Bayberry
Narcissus Daffodil
Pachysandra Pachysandra
Paeonia Peony
Perovskia atriplicifolia Russian Sage
Picea pungens Colorado Blue Spruce
Pieris Andromeda
Pinus mugo Mugho Pine
Platanus London Plane
Potentilla Potentilla
Pyracantha Firethorn
Rogersia Rodgersflower
Rudbeckia Rudbeckia
Salix Willow
Salvia Salvia
Sedum Sedum
Spirea Spirea
Stachys byzantian Lamb's Ear
Syringa Lilac
Thuja plicata Western Arborvitae
Tilia Linden
Ulmus Elm
Viburnum Viburnum
Vitex Chaste Tree
Weigela Weigela
Woundwort Lamb's Ear
Yucca filamentosa Yucca
Zelkova Zelkova

  

     

DEER RESISTANT & SHADE TOLERANT PLANTS

Shade is one of the most limiting factors when attempting to grow attractive plants, especially when it's dry shade. Below is a general list of plants that will tolerate shade better than other varieties.
  

Astilbe Astilbe
Berberis Barberry
Cercis Redbud
Cornus Dogwood
Ferns Ferns
Leucothoe Leucothoe
Mahonia Oregon Grape
Pachysandra Pachysandra
Pieris Andromeda
Pyracantha Pyracantha
Viburnum Viburnum
Vinca minor Myrtle

  
  

TREES THAT PRODUCE SURFACE ROOTS

Some of the tree species that are most likely to produce surface roots are those that grow fast. Many of these same trees are ones that tolerate adverse growing conditions. Producing surface roots is often an aid in their survival in these adverse situations.
    
Alternatives to Grass

Instead of trying to grow grass over these root systems, sometimes it's better to plant a ground cover such as goldenstar (Chrysogonum virginianum), creeping lily-turf (Liriope spicata), Russian arborvitae (Microbiota decussata), Allegheny spurge (Pachysandra procumbens), Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis), creeping myrtle (Vinca minor), or barren strawberry (Waldsteinia ternata).
   

Acer platanoides Norway maple
Acer rubrum Red maple
Acer saccharinum Silver maple
Ailanthus altissima Tree-of-heaven
Alnus spp. Alder
Betula nigra River birch
Celtis spp. Hackberry
Fagus grandifolia American beech
Gleditsia triacanthos inermis Thornless honeylocust
Larix decidua European larch
Liquidambar styraciflua Sweetgum
Metasequoia glyptostroboides Dawn redwood
Morus spp. Mulberry
Picea pungens Colorado spruce
Platanus spp. Sycamore or London plane tree
Populus spp. Poplar
Quercus palustris Pin oak
Robinia pseudoacacia Black locust
Salix spp. Willow
Ulmus spp. Elm
Taxodium distichum Bald cypress
Tilia spp. Linden

  

WILDLIFE SHRUB MIX

Shrub mixture that favors wildlife with food and shelter.
  

American Cranberry Viburnum trilobum
Arrowwood Viburnum Viburnum dentatum
Button Bush Cephalanthus occidentalis
Choke Berry Aronia arbutifolia
Hercules' Club Aralia spinosa
Hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana
Nannyberry Viburnum lentago
Shrub Lespedeza Lespedeza thunbergii
Silky dogwood Cornus amomum
Winterberry Ilex verticillata
Witch hazel Hamamelis virginiana

  

RELATED LINKS

  
Nursery standards

Translating Plant Names

 

   

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