Into The Shadows: 12 Top Pennsylvania Native Shade Plants

Native Pennsylvania plants are the plants that are already grown in Pennsylvania before the Europeans arrived. Hence, the plants are not the one that is carried by the people to plant. Since the plants are native, then the adaptation with the climate and environment are easy and fast. It is pretty different from the native plants that were brought by specific persons back then. There are 12 Pennsylvania native shade plants we want to describe in order to help you know more about them.

By reading this, we also help you to choose the native shade plants to own inside your garden. Most of them are easy and fast growing. You can select the fruit trees as well to ripen and eat the fruits right from the garden.

BEST Pennsylvania Native Shade Plants

Imagine a serene oasis right in your backyard, where dappled sunlight dances through the leaves and cool breezes soothe your senses. That’s the magic of a shade garden, and Pennsylvania is a canvas painted with the hues of native plants perfectly suited for these tranquil spots. In this journey, we’ll unveil the secrets of the best Pennsylvania native shade plants.

These plants aren’t just beautiful, they’re a reflection of nature’s wisdom, adapted to flourish beneath the canopy. So, join us as we explore the enchantment of Pennsylvania’s shaded landscapes and discover the perfect companions for your peaceful retreat.

1. Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum)

pennsylvania native shade plants
Sugar Maple (Acer Saccharum)

The beauty of Pennsylvania shade plants you can get once you choose the sugar maple tree for your yard. The landscape will be stunning as well because during fall, the leaves will turn into burnt orange or red from the dark green ones.

Paying attention to the place where this native plant will be established is a must since this one loves full sun to part shade as it will tolerate the shade as well. At its full maturity, the plant will shape into a dense crown, which is very stunning to see in the gardens.

2. Red Baneberry (Actaea Rubra)

pennsylvania native shade plants
Red Baneberry (Actaea Rubra)

You can have a fruit tree such as red baneberry in your yard, it is one of Pennsylvania native shade plants too. The red fruits that will grown on the slender stalk, with bright green leaves, although the fruit is not edible fruits because it is poisonous for humans if you eat it. But the beauty of this berry tree cannot be denied.

So, if you are interested in this plant, you can place it in a full shade, since the moderate shade is the best light to maximize the planting. This native plant is often found under hardwoods, so that you can go to the region where the woody trees are usually easy to find.

3. Obedient Plant (Physostegia Virginiana)

pennsylvania native shade plants
Obedient Plant (Physostegia Virginiana)

The stunning ground cover you can pick for your yard is here! The purple flower, just like the name, is pure obedient since it can adapt to the environment easily and grow fast.

A complete package of this plant includes the drought tolerant, so you have no issue about the soil for planting this native plant. Let’s enjoy the stunning lavender flowers in your garden this fall by planting this now.

4. Red Columbine (Aquilegia Canadensis)

pennsylvania native shade plants
Red Columbine Flowers (Aquilegia Canadensis)

When you are interested in getting the native plants which have various benefits for you and the pollinators, then you can get the shade area for Red Columbine. The stunning red flowers with yellow pistils will bloom beautifully in late spring and early summer. The way its flowers bloom is backward, hence it looks like dead flowers, however, it is just blooming.

The nectar of this plant becomes the pollinators, such as hummingbirds, bumblebee, and long-tongue insects. The foliage of Red Columbine is a safe place for insect larvae as well, so that the insects are not looking for food only, but also a safe place for the larvae before it grows.

Furthermore, you can enjoy the sweetness from the flower as well, such as adding the sweet garnish in your salad by squeezing the flower and seeing the nectar’s dew drop in. So, it is not only the animals who can enjoy its sweets, but also you as the gardener and owner of one of this Pennsylvania native shade plants.

5. Greek Valerian (Polemonium Caeruleum)

pennsylvania native shade plants
Greek Valerian (Polemonium Caeruleum)

Imagine seeing the alluring sky blue flowers in your garden everyday before you start to do regular activity. Guess you can boost your mood instantly. The native plants like Greek Valerian can be your small shrubs inside your garden. Furthermore, there are many advantages you can get by planting this native plant besides enjoying the stunning flowers once it blooms.

Greek Valerian is well known as the herb medicine to cure dysentery, toothaches and animal bites. Furthermore, in the nineteenth century, a few European countries used this ancient Greek plant as the anti-syphilitic agent and to treat rabies. So, you can place it on the shady locations since it loves part shade lights. As you plant it, the bees and other pollinators will come!

6. Black Maple (Acer Nigrum)

pennsylvania native shade plants
Black Maple (Acer Nigrum)

Although it is less common than the sugar maple (it is a subspecies of Sugar Maple tree), you still can enjoy the view of this elegant tree that can be used as the ground cover as well. The wood is strong and hard, there is no difference from other maple trees. This deciduous tree is large and can grow up to 80 feet tall while the crown is shaped round naturally.

Since this one is a subspecies of Maple Tree, this tree can produce maple syrup as well. Furthermore, you can place it on the well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade locations. This large tree will be the center of attention in your house as its large shade tree will fill the view once the guests come to your house.

7. Aesculus Glabra

pennsylvania native shade plants
Aesculus Glabra

The native plant species that will attract butterflies whenever the tree is planted. This big tree loves full sun to part-shade, to make the flowers bloom with an iconic fragrance.

Also, the late spring will be the best time of this native species to bloom, although we know that Ohio buckeye or Aesculus glabra is one of a fast growing Pennsylvania native shade plants.

8. Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea)

Balsam Fir
Balsam Fir (Abies Balsamea)

Planting native plants is one of the best ways of gardening. You can choose the evergreen trees, like this Balsam Fir for instance. Besides, you can invite the birds implicitly by planting this one in the yard.

This tree becomes the favorite of birds to breed and eat. It is not only one species of bird that will come, various birds will come to the tree. So, imagine how they will chirp every morning to wake you up.

9. Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier Canadensis)

Canadian Serviceberry
Canadian Serviceberry (Amelanchier Canadensis)

Having the edible fruits behind your house will be exciting to imagine. As this fast growing tree produces the berry that you can eat once you can ripe the fruits. As long as you plant it in well-drained soil, the tree will grow easily. Also, under a full sun, the berries will grow perfect.

You can consider this one as a tough native plant since it is hard for the plants to get disease or pests. You have no worries about those issues, yet you still have to pay attention to fire blight.

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10. Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox Divaricata)

pennsylvania native shade plants
Wild Blue Phlox (Phlox Divaricata)

Blue is the warmest color, and you can feel its warmth although the Spring is just coming by selecting this native plant in your yard. Well, it is not blue only, there are lavender and white too for you to choose in order to brighten and change the ambiance in front of your house.

In early spring, the blue flowers from Wild Blue Phlox will bloom. The part sun for lighting this tree will be perfect as long as the soil type is acid, rich and moist.

11. Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)

Eastern Redbud
Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis)

You may call this tree Judas tree. A beautiful and impressive pink flowers can be seen in full bloom. The leaves have a heart-shaped that will warm your heart once it has fallen.

Although this is one of the small trees, Eastern Redbud is fast growing too. So you cannot underestimate this plant when you have it in the yard. This shade tree will be the center of attention for the birds as the birds will spread the seeds evenly to the ground.

12. Golden Sundrops (Oenothera Fruticosa)

Golden Sundrops
Golden Sundrops (Oenothera Fruticosa)

When you decide to plant these shiny flowers, their blooming flowers can warm your hearts instantly. It is pest and disease free! So, there are no worries about the flowers. This plant loves full sun but can tolerate the partial shade as well. If you want to have a sunburst like garden, then you can purchase more than two plants to plant in your yard.

Final Thought

As you embark on your journey to create a shaded haven, remember that Pennsylvania’s native shade plants aren’t just botanical wonders. Each leaf that rustles in the gentle breeze carries with it the whispers of generations past and the promise of a more sustainable future. By embracing these native companions, you’re not just adorning your landscape; you’re becoming part of a larger, harmonious ecosystem.

So, step into this shaded world, where nature’s palette paints with subtlety and grace, and let these Pennsylvania native shade plants weave a tapestry of beauty, tranquility, and connection in the heart of your outdoor sanctuary.

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are Pennsylvania Native Shade Plants?

Pennsylvania native shade plants are plant species that naturally thrive in the shaded and partially shaded environments of the state. These plants have evolved over time to adapt to the specific conditions of Pennsylvania’s climate, soil types, and ecosystems.

What plant grows well in total shade?

The Greek Valerian loves shade light for growing well. Red baneberries also love shady locations. So, you can choose those plants if you plan to have new plants in total shade.

How do you create a successful shade garden with these plants?

To create a successful shade garden, start by assessing the specific conditions of your site. Determine whether it receives full shade or partial shade. Choose plants that are suitable for those conditions. Make sure to prepare the soil properly and provide adequate moisture. Group plants with similar water and light requirements together for optimal growth.

Is lavender native to Pennsylvania?

26 June 2016, 8:00 PM. Due to their clay soils and humid summer, lavender is a hard plant that cannot thrive in Western Pennsylvania. Certainly not necessary. Hardy in temperatures around -20°C, lavender originates in the Mediterranean region.

Is maple tree native to Pennsylvania?

The Red Maple Tree is native plant to Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has an enormous population of sugar tree. From the true garden until the tree in the house. There are a few big family groups in Pennsylvania who consistently produce maple syrup since 1920. Hence, there is no doubt how maple tree and Pennsylvania cannot be separated. 

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