🌳 Gardening In the Shade

What can you do with that shady area of your garden? You could just plant Pachysandra; or, you could see it as a gardener’s challenge. With a little patience you can discover the mixture of annuals and perennials that are at their best in a shaded environment.

Flowering Perennials

Many perennials are shade loving and mixing different varieties can mean a season-long color pattern. Astilbe, Dianthus, Pansies, Black-eyed Susan, Spanish Blue Bells, Bleeding Heart, and Iris can all tolerate varying degrees of shade. There are over 19 different varieties of Hosta most of which do extremely well in shade. Buy the smallest size of a perennial and try it out for a season to see how much shade it can tolerate.

Flowering Annuals

Although your choice in annuals for shady gardens is more limited, Impatiens, especially the New Guinea variety, do well. They produce intensely colored flowers throughout the growing season and look lovely as a mass of color underneath trees or along pathways. Wax begonias can also tolerate shade with their green to bronze leaves and clusters of shimmering white, pink, or red flowers. Nicotiana with its long trumpet-like flowers in white and pink make a fine backdrop for shady borders. Primroses are early bloomers producing bright splashes of color that seem to glow against their darker foliage. Coleus, although non-flowering, offer an incredible array of brilliantly colored foliage in striking combinations from lightest green to darkest red. They are easily as impressive as flowering annuals and look lovely massed in shady areas.

Ground Covers

There are a variety of ground covers that can fill those shady spots, English Ivy, Sweet Woodruff, Ajuga, and the ubiquitous Pachysandra are some examples. Vinca vine with its glossy dark leaves and light bluish or white flowers can tolerate deep shade. The traditional Lily-of-the-valley does well in the poor soil present under trees and their slender stems of bell-shaped flowers are known for their wonderful fragrance.

No garden is without some shade. It may be created as the sun passes over the house, or by nearby buildings, as well as fences, decks, patios, trees, or even other plants. It will take some patience over several growing seasons to find just the right combinations that do well in these areas, but the results will be worth the effort.