People are often saying to me they can’t grow anything “good” because they only have shade. Au contraire! My garden in the shade is my most beloved because of its sheer beauty and well, because it’s in the cool shade!
So here it is and I might add that none of these plants do we start from seed. You need to go to your local independent nursery to pick up these plants, and the fall is the time to plant them after you have prepared your site. If you give them a happy home, several of them will also have babies after a couple of years. All of these plants grow at the base of a large Tulip Magnolia tree, with little to no irrigation after being established. In a 30’ circle at the base of this tree I have 70% Lenten Roses, with pockets of the other flowers. They bloom primarily in the spring and it is a show to behold. My list is short- there are so many more choices once you go investigate the shade department! Come to my October “In the Garden” program to learn how to prepare your site for success.
· Lenten Roses-evergreen, deer-resistant, bloom January till June. My all-time favorite plant, pricey because they are slow growers-pay the price, you will love them.
· Old-Fashioned Bleeding Hearts– gorgeous pink heart blooms, comes in white also, die back when the heat gets going about July, reseed when happy, I plant Mondo grass around them so it won’t be bare.
· Virginia Bluebells– beautiful blue bells just like the name, they also die back, reseed when happy.
· Primroses– there are many different types of primroses, I am afraid I don’t know the name of mine but they are over 20 years old, have pale yellow blooms and the flower spikes are about 6” tall. I think you could make an entire garden of the different primroses.
· Columbine- I have the Virginian native and the purple, both reseed well. Many varieties widely available.
· Hostas- many of these, grow in large containers if voles are an issue. Pale green leaves are gorgeous in the shade.
· Hydrangea- on the outskirts of the trees where water competition is not so strong, hydrangea thrives in the shade.
· Variegated Liriope- I don’t cut this, however in a large pooling mass in the shade with its two-tone leaves it is a very refreshing look. An all-different look then the straight lines of it lining parking lots and driveways.
So stop pouting, you shady homeowners! Find yourself a nursery with a worthy shade department and go to it. If all else fails, Google “shade plants” and I am sure the selections will be endless.
Enjoy your shade!