Hot new perennials and plants for shade
Look for these new Coleus, Begonia, and Heuchera
Good soil is the key to garden success
Before sowing seed or planting, amend poor soils with compost or other organic matter. Consider replacing soil mix in your favorite containers. Take care of the soil and the soil will take care of your plants.
Most shade-loving plants, including herbs and perennials, are woodland dwellers. They prefer a consistently moist (but not soggy), humus-rich soil.
5 New Spring Coleus ReleasesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Best new coleus for shade
Part shade to shade
Many coleus are suitable for sun. If your gardens require shade, consider these coleus.
- Ruffles Bordeaux - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioide
- Mariposa™ - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
- Ruffles Copper - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
- Fishnet Stockings - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioid
- ColorBlaze® 'Sedona' - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
Keep trimming coleus plants to make them bushier and sturdier. Cutting back coleus gives it a neat and uniform shape.
Save the cuttings for making new coleus plant. Simply put the cuttings in water. Remove any leaves that are in the water.
Once the cuttings have rooted, plant the cuttings. Take care to keep the newly planted cuttings well watered until established.
Did you know: Coleus - It's a rare plant that you are encouraged pinch off the flowers when they appear. The little blue spiky flowers are unremarkable and detract from the beautiful foliage. Regular pinching keeps the plant compact and bushy.
Pick Coral Bells - Heuchera for colorClick thumbnail to view full-size
Heuchera - Coral Bells
Other names for Heuchera are Alum Root, Coral Bells, Rock Geranium. Heuchera - Coral Bells are grown for their foliage these days.
However, the tiny spiky flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds, so let them bloom. A benefit of all the new Heuchera varieties is that the little flowers are showing up in a variety of colors.
The mounding heuchera plants grow best in open woodland settings. They tolerate morning sun, if growing in well-drained soil that doesn't hold too much moisture.
To keep them from dying out in the center, Heuchera plants can be divided every 3-4 years. Propagate hybrid Heucheras by division. It is the only method that will produce plants true to the parent.
In winter, Heuchera plants can heave out of the soil. Mulching prevents the freezing and thawing that heaves the plants up.
Did you know: Heuchera has been crossed with its cousin Tiarella to produce another nice shade plant called heucherella.
Heuchera (Coral Bells) for color
Dolce® 'Blackberry Ice' - Coral Bells - Heuchera hybrid - Purple black with silver netted foliage. This heuchera lived the first year as a container plant. It thrived in that shady location.
The next spring, I planted it in the ground in the same location. I like this Dolce® 'Blackberry Ice' heuchera because, it is a bright, season-long color accent.
How to plant Dolce Key Lime Pie Heuchera
Begonia foliage for part shade to shade
Leafy new Pegasus begonia
Grow Pegasus™ Begonias for foliage
Most begonias are grown for their continuous blooms in shady gardens. Pegasus™ begonias are grown for their fabulous foliage. (Pictured above.)
Pegasus™ begonia hybrid has thick and deep green, glossy leaves. This showy shade lover draws attention with a silver overlay on each leaf. Growing 12-18" tall, is colorful enough to fill a container single handedly.
Illumination® Apricot Shades - Tuberous BegoniaClick thumbnail to view full-size
Begonias for shade
It may take awhile to learn where begonias will like to live and even thrive in your yard. Matching plant descriptions to your plant conditions may be your first challenge.
→ Illumination® series - Tuberous Begonia, Shade to part shade. Cascading habit. Also white, Golden Picotee and scarlet.
→ On Top® series - a fabulous begonia, each white petal outlined in pink. Complex coloring with more color choices online and at garden centers. Colors Sunset Shades, pink, salmon, yellow, orange. Trailing habit. See all colors at Proven Winners. Part shade to shade.
→ Dragon Wing® Red - Angelwing Begonia - Begonia hybrid - Vigorous, heat tolerant with continuous flowering all summer. Great plant to fill open shady spaces.
Dragon Wing® Red - Angelwing Begoniaalso thrived in a full sun mail box planting. Also in pink. May surprise you how heat and sun tolerant a begonia care be.
Did you know: Begonia - The name Begonia, comes from Charles Plumier, a French patron of botany, and adopted by Linnaeus in 1753. The name honors Michel Bégon, once governor of the French colony, San Domingo.
Also see: Dragon Wing™ Red Begonia was a trial plant from Ball Horticulture some time ago.
Look for these new begonia introductions
Illumination® Apricot Shades
On Top® Pink Halo
white with pink edging
trails up to 24 Inches
Mojito mint herb
Lemon balm herb
5 Herbs that tolerate shade
Most herbs require full sun. These five herbs will tolerate shady conditions. The only way to know if they will adapt to your shady garden is to try. Begin with one or two starter plants in the spring.
Observation will allow you to discover what is best for your conditions. For example, if the lemon balm does well, take cuttings to make more plants.
- Lemon balm is one of the best herbs for dappled light. If plants get leggy or unruly, simply cut it back. It will quickly rejuvenate growing back twice as thick.
- Parsley may grow in areas that receive a couple of hours of direct sun daily.
- Chervil is a cool season annual. It may do quite well in the spring before trees completely shade the area. Plant again in fall.
- Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) is excellent for shade to full shade, Often grown as a ground cover. Propagating through self seeding and an aggressive root system, it become a dense mat growing 8-10 inches tall.
- Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) can only be grown in a shade garden, making an attractive ground cover.Wild Ginger is not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber official), even though the rhizomes of this plant produce a scent that is reminiscent of real.
"Wild ginger makes an excellent addition to a shade garden. Growing it from seed is not practical, but a large colony of the plant will have a large mass of underground rhizomes." - USDA Forest Service
Your perennial favorite
What is your favorite shade-loving plant variety?
© 2015 Patsy Bell Hobson