Gardening in the shade often has the reputation of being challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. There are some fabulous shade loving perennials that are far from boring and will make that shady spot in the landscape pop. But the secret is choosing the right plants for the right location.
We’ve highlighted some of our favorite and reliable shade perennials that will get you inspired to create a lush, shady oasis and take your shade garden from boring to beautiful.
Hostas – Hostas are hardy foliage plants and so easy to grow. What’s so nice about them is they come in many sizes, heights, textures, and colors. They lend themselves to so many different kinds of gardens. Their leaf colors include lime green, blue-green, variegated white and other shades that will steal the show not to mention that wide assortment of leaf shapes. Try pairing a cool blue Hosta with a burgundy Heuchera and you’ll get eye-popping results. They are cold hardy from zones 3 to 8.
Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass or Hakone Grass)) - There are two types of this ornamental grass: Hadonechloa macra ‘Auerola’ and Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ The macra ‘Aureola’ is variegates gold with a green stripe. The macra ‘All Gold’ is all gold and tends to be more vigorous. Both have an attractive habit of falling over to one side. It works well as a ground cover, a border-front specimen, mass planting or even looks great in a patio container. Looks great planted in front of evergreen or deciduous shrubs.
Huechera (Coral Bells) – You’ll fall in love with Huechera’s alluring colors. The foliage on these perennials can range from lime reen and butterscotch to burgundy and almost black. Although a great shade plant, some are also more sun and heat tolerant. They like well drained soil and will die back to the ground during winter and when spring arrives, cut off any old leaves and enjoy the nice display of fresh foliage. Mt. Cuba Center in Delaware evaluated 83 varieties of heuchera and the results of their report can be seen here: http://www.whatgrowsthere.com/grow/about/mt-cuba-center-evaluates-heuchera-coralbells-cultivars/
Coleus – Their eye-catching annual foliage makes them irresistible and worthy of a spot in your shady landscape. You can use them in masses, tucked between perennials to fill in space and choose colors that complement other leaves or blooms you already have. These easy to grow annual Coleus Add Easy Color to Your Landscape and Garden.
Astilbe - Astilbe have featherly, fern-like foliage and sends up plumes of flowers and if you cut them back after blooming in the spring, they can bloom again. They come in pinks, purples and whites. They grow 18” wide and 18-24” tall and they like moist, well-drained soil. Divide the roots in spring or fall every three or four years.
Our favorite shade-long plants are far from the only choices available. However, we wanted to give you our go-to list of reliable plants that are easy to find and easy to maintain.
If you would like to discuss what shrubs and flowers would work best within your landscape, contact Whitehouse Landscaping. Our design experience and horticultural knowledge in landscaping and hardscaping can create an outdoor space that is beautiful, distinctive, livable and truly sustainable.
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