Great Plants for Shady Gardens Essay

Great Plants for Shady Gardens Essay

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Light colors show best in shade. Those deep blue hostas are gorgeous, but the dark colors are hard to see unless you are up close. Dark blue and purple flowers tend almost seem to disappear. Choose light colors in both flowers and foliage. Foliage with yellow, white or cream-colored variegation add sparkle to a shade garden and make an excellent backdrop for flowers.

Shady areas often have poor air circulation and high humidity, creating the perfect environment for fungal diseases. Space plants at the recommended distances, or even a bit further apart than recommended, to allow air to circulate freely.

Slugs and snails love shade gardens as much as we do, so plan ahead for these uninvited guests. Place a strip of copper wire around your shade garden to keep the pests out, and place upside-down fruit rinds inside the wire to trap the ones that are already there. Check the traps daily as long as you are finding slugs and snails.

The plants discussed here are for partial shade, and they all need a little sun, preferably in the morning, every day. There are plants that thrive in deep shade, but the variety is limited. That will be a subject of another day.

Bedding annuals are inexpensive and available everywhere, and they are the ultimate easy-care plants. When they start to flag you simply pull them up and pop another one in. Most annuals bloom over a much longer season than perennials, and the only care they need is an occasional dose of fertilizer and deep watering during dry spells. Most annuals produce more flowers if you keep the faded flowers picked off.

Wax begonias have clusters of purple, pink, white or red flowers with delicate yellow centers all summer. Foliages colors range from medium green to deep bronz...

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...bout 15 inches. Try planting them with blue hostas and white impatiens. Fringed bleeding hearts are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.

Hostas are grown primarily for their spectacular foliage which looks great all season. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, and a wide variation in foliage colors, sizes and textures. The plants vary in size from little 6-inch wide dwarfs to 3 feet or more. In summer, hostas send up spikes of white or purple flowers, and some varieties are fragrant. They are hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8.

Lungwort is one of the best groundcovers for shady areas and also makes an attractive edging for shady paths. The plants grow 9 to 12 inches tall with a spread of up to 18 inches. The foliage is variegated with white spots, and some varieties have silver flecks. The spring-blooming flowers start as pink buds and open to reveal blue flowers.

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