10 Plants That Will Grow in the Shade
Have you ever planted seedlings, bulbs and cuttings with great enthusiasm and considerable expense, only to find that the plants become weedy and die off?
I certainly have! And what a disappointment it was.
You do all that work - clearing, digging, planting and watering, only to find it was all in vain, and you begin to wonder whether there's any point in even trying to create a nice garden.
Do your plants tolerate shade, or do they prefer sunshine?
Here are the secrets I have learned about shade-loving plants through trial and error
I have found out the hard way that it's no good planting sun-loving plants in the shade, or shade-loving plants in the sun.
It helps to know which plants actually need or tolerate shade, and which ones need bright sunshine and will simply fail to thrive in the shade.
It helps to be imaginative, and think about how the plants would grow in their natural habitat - are they woodland plants, or sun-loving plants which grow in open ground, like meadows, or even desert?
Don't go looking to find blue tulips like the one in this photo - it's not real - I touched up the colours on www.Paint.Net (a free photo-editing programme).
Have the Benefit of my Experience -
it will save you money and a certain amount of heartbreak!
Here's a List of 10 Plants that tolerate shade
Do you have a shady border in your garden?
I have taken years of trial and error to discover what plants will tolerate shade and which ones simply don't flower, or wither and die when they are not in full sun. Most of the plants listed below will grow in dappled shade but you may be lucky and find they grow in full shade.
Vinca Major and Vinca Minor
Bleeding Heart - Dicentra Spectabilis
big green leaves with pink flowers in spring and early summer
Evergreen (sometimes known as elephants' ears), low lying, about 1 - 2 feet high.
Bergenia is a very hardy plant which very gradually spreads. It flowers in mid to late Spring for about two months and you can propagate it by tearing off a few leaves and stem with some roots attached. It usually seems to take
2.VINCA MINOR (also known as PERIWINKLE) -
Small shiny leaves, small violet star-shaped flowers in spring and then intermittently during summer and autumn
Good ground cover. Vinca is evergreen and low-lying and gradually spreads, so needs to be kept under control
3.vinca Major -
similar to vinca minor, but slightly larger leaves and flowers
And not quite as hardy, so make sure it is watered when very dry. It will grow in dappled shade. Propagate by tearing off a few stems which have rooted.
Here are some gardening books on Amazon - You can just skip this section if you want to go straight to the plant descriptions below
A brilliant book to help you make decisions about what to plant, the varieties, and where best to plant them
The best books on garden plants, which will become your gardening bible in future years
Very helpful and informative for new gardeners and also old hands at gardening.
Everything you need to know about gardening, and a bit more besides.
4.solomon's Seal -
a root which puts out a few stems in Spring with tiny little white drooping flowers tinged with green
Solomon's Seal flowers last about two months and gradually the plant dies off and disappears, only to return the following Spring.
I suspect that Edward Lear's drawing of "Manypeeplia upsidedownia" (shown below) was based on this plant.
Dicentra Spectabilis or Bleeding Heart
5.DICENTRA SPECTABILIS, also known as BLEEDING HEART -
In Spring this root puts out stems with soft interesting-shaped leaves with a small dark pink or sometimes pink-and-white flower which does indeed resemble a heart
It flowers for about two months and looks lovely grown near bergenia and Solomon's seal. Propagate by dividing the roots after it has finished flowering. I have never found it very easy to increase and usually end up buying more plants.
Beware of Poisonous Plants in Your Garden
Reader - I wasn't careful enough
See below what happened to me!
6. HELLEBORE -
there are numerous types of hellebore including the one called CHRISTMAS ROSE
This flowers shortly after Christmas and is fairly low growing, with palmate leaves. Some of them are taller. They are mostly creamy white tinged with green, sometimes with mauve or pink colours. They flower for about three months, sometimes more, and when they die back, they put out new leaves, which are very attractive in their own right and ensure the garden doesn't look bare in winter. You can propagate them very easily from seeds which form in large seedpods when the flowers have finished.
Be very careful, though, when harvesting the seeds. It is best to wait until the seed pods dry out and then just shake them into a container or collect them from the ground.
This summer I picked the seed pods whilst the seeds were still green, and spent about twenty minutes squeezing the seeds out of the pods, so that my fingers were in constant contact with the sap. I began to feel a tingling pins-and-needles feeling in my fingers and thumbs and it got so bad that I had to sit down and my hands were almost paralyzed and burning.
After a few more minutes I realized what had caused the problem and ran my hands under cold water to wash away the juice. My fingers turned very red, almost purple, and were throbbing.
After 24 hours they were, if anything, worse, and I went to the doctor. She said I had done the right thing washing off the poison, and prescribed an emolient cream to rub on, and I certainly needed that.
Over the next few days the skin on my fingers and thumbs turned almost black and became so hard that I could actually hear them scratching like a beetle when I tapped them on the table. They were very painful and burning, and I couldn't bear to come into contact with anything for a few days.
It took nearly two weeks for the dead skin to peel off and the pain to go away, leaving a rather red-looking layer of skin underneath, which eventually took on a healthier hue and there were no lasting ill effects. It was pretty scary at the time though.
Here's Another Gardening Book - It'll soon become a family favourite:
The Royal Horticultural Society books are always a pleasure to look at and very informative. Plants are ranged in sizes, types, seasons and colours, with beautiful photographs and enough information to help gardeners, both experienced and inexperienced, to select plants appropriate to their needs. I use my copy all the time.
This is the latest version, and although it appears to be unobtainable new at Amazon.com, you might be able to get it second-hand. Otherwise it is available from Amazon.co.uk, new or second-hand. I can't recommend it highly enough - I refer to my older version all the time, to get ideas for plant sizes, colours and growing information. It is very comprehensive and a bit expensive, but well worth it, because it will save you putting plants in the wrong place. so your plants will be more likely to flourish well - which makes it cost-effective, as well as giving untold pleasure if you like lots of excellent photographs of plants, both common and rare.
7. MAHONIA -
Mahonia is an evergreen shrub
Mahonia is a shrub with very shiny dark green leaves, a bit like holly and just as spiky, with purple-black berries from Autumn through winter, and a mass of bright yellow tiny frothy flowers in Spring
They multiply by sending out sucker-type shoots, so keep them under control. The type I grow (Mahonia aquifolium) is fairly short, no more than 3 ft. high, but my neighbours have a different type which is more like a tree, about 10 ft. high.
Myasotis - Forget-me-Not
8. MYASOTIS also known as FORGET-ME-NOT -
they range in colour from bright blue to pale blue, some tinged with pink, with soft small leaves, and flower in late Spring for about four months
Forget-me-nots are about 6 - 8 inches high and quite bushy.
They are annuals, not perennials, but always seed themselves abundantly, so they never go away if the position is right for them. They grow in sun and shade.
After a few years, they tend to spread and become invasive, but it's easy to control them by digging up unwanted plants. The trouble is, it's tempting to keep them anyway, because a sea of blue spring flowers round a garden is breathtakingly beautiful.
9. PULMONARIA -
Small pink and blue flowers and green leaves speckled with white spots
Pulmonaria is a small perennial which grows to about 1 ft high, flowering in late spring. It can be propagated by dividing the plant and roots after it has flowered.
10. AZALEA -
This is a shrub which comes in many different bright, almost fluorescent colours to pale mauves, pinks, whites and oranges and can be anything from dwarf about 1 ft high to about 6ft, depending on the type
Azaleas flower in late spring and need to be kept watered in dry weather. They also benefit from being fed with Sequestrene or anything else suitable for Ericaceous plants.
Always Check Whether New Plants Are Shade or Sun Lovers
That is the best way to avoid disappointment!
Vote on the modern trend to grow vegetables - Is it worth the trouble?
It seems to be trendy these days to grow your own vegetables. If you have ever tried it, were you satisfied with the result?
Vote in the Poll below this picture:
My Newly-Planted Vegetable Plot
Would you dig up your lawn and flowerbeds to make a vegetable patch?
Below are some Gardeners' Designs on Cards, Mugs, T-Shirts , Posters, Boxes and Buttons, on Zazzle
I designed them in my Gloriousconfusion Zazzle Shop:
You can even insert your own wording, or choose the colour and style of your items - Zazzle is just such a pleasure to play about with