Best Plants for New York Backyard

Goals

To obtain information about low-light plants that can strive in pots in a small New York backyard garden

Early Findings

  • According to the Greenbelt Native Plant Center in New York City (NYC), plants that do well in the shade are trees, shrubs, vines, graminoids, and ferns.
  • Examples of herbs that thrive in pots and shade in NYC apartments with little light or a backyard garden with little light include parsley, oregano, chives, tarragon, mint, cilantro, and lemon balm.
  • Wee Willie Korean Boxwood is a shrub that would likely survive in the hot and cold weather in NYC because it "retains its emerald green color year-round, even throughout the coldest winters" and requires partial sunlight at minimum to survive. Boxwood has several species to choose from.
  • Annual plants can be planted in pots in the shade during the hot weather and be brought inside when the weather gets cold. Examples of annual plants that do well in low light include catnip, chamomile, mint and parsley. Chervil does well in partial sun.
  • According to Todd Haiman Landscape Design, plants that strive in NYC backyards with little light include "hostas, ferns, and yew shrubs".
  • Recommended plants for this condition and setting include Adiantum pedatum (Northern maidenhair fern), Hosta ‘Blue Mouse Ears’, Hosta ‘Undulata picto’ and Taxus x media (Yew).
  • Hydrangea macrophylla is a recommended ornamental plant that can be grown in pots as flowering shrubs.
  • Dogwood does well in Brooklyn. It offers shade and attracts birds.
  • Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa), and Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) are also recommended plants for NYC climate and small spaces.

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
We recommend continuing our research by providing an overview of the ideal containers, planting conditions, planting material, and planting tips for plants to be successfully grown in a small NYC backyard in low-light.
We also suggest further research to provide an overview of the benefits of backyard gardening and challenges faced with backyard gardening (including climate change, urban garden soil, and drainage) in NYC.