What sort of plants grow well in shade?
Following on from my last blog; once you know what sort of shade you have, you need to know which plants will grow well in the shady spot you have. The phrase right plant right place is used a lot, but it is a mantra that needs to be repeated when buying plants. It will save lots of money and heartache. As always look to nature to inspire you.
If you have dappled shade or half shade, the options are plentiful, as long as you get some sun for part of the day, many plants will be happy. In this article I will mainly deal with permanent planting, for full shade, as this are the more difficult places to find plants for.
Perennial Plants for Full Shade
The herbaceous and other Perennials are the best range of plants for shaded places in the garden. For many of them, it is their natural habitat. Some will do equally well in full sun or quite heavy shade. All of the hardy garden ferns are also suited to varying degrees of shade.
- Ajuga reptans – Bugle. The perennial ground coverer.
- Arum italicum Marmoratum with its marbled leaves makes for good shade plant.
- Brunnera microphylla – a good stunning blue for light shade.
- Convallaria – Lily of the Valley – Happy in a shaded spot – if moist as well so much better.
- Epimediums are good in woodland type shade.
- Geranium Maccrorrhizum’s and Phaeum’s- Most are tolerant of shade – especially if on the dry side.
- hellebores – Helleborus orientalis are happy in light or heavy shade.
- Lamium Maculatum – the spotted white nettle makes great ground cover in shady areas.
- Leucojum vernum – The Spring Snowflake or Snowpake is a better bet than snowdrops in shade.
- Liriope Muscari – superb in dappled shade.
- Pachysandra terminalis, evergreen ground cover with glossy green leaves and white flowers
- Pulmonaria – with many semi-evergreen varities these spotted leaved spring flowering plants lighten a dark corner.
- Saxifrages – especially the London Pride types are happy in woodland shade.
- Vinca major or minor, (Periwinkle) will work in fairly dark areas.
Shrubs for growing in shade conditions.
- Berberis evergreen types are happy in dappled shade.
- Choisya – all varieties
- Cotoneasters of all types but low growing the best.
- Daphne evergreen types.
- Fatsia japonica – good in light shade.
- Hydrangeas – the common mop-heads and lacecaps – but not the paniculata or arborecens group. Hydrangea quercifolia does well!
- Hypericums – rampant in light shade.
- Jasminum nudiflorum the winter job with yellow flowers is happy in shade.
- Kalmia latifiolia happy in acidic soil and shade.
- Pholomis fruiticosa a good silvery foliage for light shade.
Also here is a list of bedding plants that can be planted each spring for summer colour.
Best Bedding Plants for Shaded Areas
- Nicotiana, Tabacco plants have a lovely scent and come in a lovely range of colours from cream to deep red.
- Impatiens – the Busy Lizzies are amongst the best flowering annuals for shaded places – even though normally planted in full sun.
- Begonias are happy in light shade, but will live ok in deep shade – if kept watered. There is a wide range of begonias available, from the normal fibrous rooted bedding plants to those that are started from corms. All are happy in shaded garden spots.
- Pansies and small flowered Violas are suited for light shade.
- Polyanthus and others of the Primula family – especially the Primula Wanda types.
- Nasturtiums, prefer a light shade and come in great hot colours.
- Antirrhinum (snap dragons) are suited for dappled shade.
- Nemesia will grow quite happy in shade.
- Bellis Dasies will grow in shade if moist.
- Diascia will tolerate light shade.