What to Grow in a Garden with Lots of Shade

by Digby_Adams

Growing a garden in a shady spot is easy, if you know what plants to choose. Here's some suggestions for picking out beautiful plants for shade.

I love large trees with lots of leaves in my yard. On hot summer days there's nothing better than relaxing in a shady hammock and reading. The downside of lots of trees is that you have to accept a shady landscape and plant the right perennial and annual flowers.The very first thing that you have to understand about choosing what to grow in a garden with lots of shade, is just how much shade you have. Plants for shade vary from partial shade to full shade. Pick the wrong shade plant and you'll not be very happy with your results. If you're a beginner gardener or just don't have time to watch your garden all-day to figure this out don't worry there's a simple and inexpensive gardening gadget called a Shade Calculator which will help you figure this out. My shade gardens usually include a large variety of shade plants such as hosta plants, caladium, impatiens, fuschia, and calla lilies.

How Shady is Your Garden?

Use a Shade Calculator

I have been poking around gardens my whole life. When we moved into our current home, my husband the engineer was in charge of rehabbing the old farmhouse. I was in charge of getting the land shipshape. So I spent the first six months hauling out debris with my yard cart and discovering old flower beds. After that I pretty much knew the shady spots from the sunny spots and everything in the middle. Well you might be more lucky and not have so much clean-up to do. However that means you might not have an idea of how much sun various parts of your garden get.

Listen to John Peters and Kimberly Bird from Calloway's Nursery in Texas, discuss why a shade calculator is so important. It's certainly handy if you're new to your yard. But landscape is always changing. The first thing I did was add lots of trees to our yard. So over the last few years the shade to sun ratio has been increasing.

In the Spring I do use a shade calculator to get a clear idea of where I need to put plants that require full shade or partial shade. I only plant full-shade perennials in stable shade areas that I know will be shady. Of course sometimes Mother Nature takes out a tree or two with a hurricane or blizzard. But I do my best to minimize the cost of needless replanting.

My Favorite Shade Plants

Calladium, Impatiens, Hostas, and Fuschia

Shade gardens tend to be very soothing because of the dark green colors of some shade plants, the cooler temperature, and the darker light in general. But don't believe for a minute that your shade has to be all green. Hosta plants, the most basic and hardy of shade plants come in a variety of color. Although I do love using dark green hosta plants as the canvas for my shade gardens.

Calladium plants have stunning foliage in vibrant red, pink, green and white. While they love the shade they also love water, so be prepared to spend some time keeping them watered.

Impatiens are the perfect beginner gardener shade plant. They'll add a bright red color to your shade garden. If you're always wondering what to grow in a garden, then impatiens are the plant for you. If your patio is shady or you just want some bright color at eye level. Consider a hanging basket of impatiens. You can use a plant stand on your patio or hang a basket brimming with impatiens from a tree!

Fuschia is another vibrant plant that has exotic shaped blooms in red, pink and purple. It also can be planted on the ground or in a hanging basket.

Hosta, Abiqua Drinking Gourd 6-pack starter plants, shade, guaranteed

(Walden West, 1989) sieboldiana seedling Dark blue leaves, very thick, heavily corrugated, leaves cupping 18" high by 42" wide near white flowers

Hosta 'Patriot'

This tetraploid sport of 'Francee' has dark green ovate leaves with a very wide cream to white border. Mid - late lavender flowers on 30" scapes. 1997 American Hosta Growers "Ho...

6 Caladium - Lance Leaved - Mixed bulbs

Caladium - Lance Leaved - Mixed Item # B 22017 Botanical Name: Caladium hortulanum Description: A superb growers mix of select lance-leaved caladium varieties that will provide ...

Impatiens -Orange- 25 Seeds

Fuchsia 'Checkerboard' - Fuchsia, Hardy

Pendulous flowers with red corollas held beneath white petals, topped by a bright red tubular cap, creating a checkerboard effect. This hardy, shrubby cultivar has escaped from ...

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Calla Lilies for Your Shade Garden

I just love the way that huge white calla lilies look in my shade garden. The tall white flower looks gorgeous against the dark green back drop of hosta plants and the colorful colors of caladium. Just listen to Yolanda Vanveen in the YouTube video above and you'll know which calla liles love partial shade and which ones thrive in the hot sun and dry soil.

10 Calla Lily Aethiopica Large White bulb

Calla Lily Aethiopica Large White (ZANTEDESCHIA AETHIOPICA) Large white callas! Classic, tall, chalice-shaped flowers of the Aethiopica calla lily flowers. Produces large, grace...

Only $25.00
Aethiopica Calla Lily - 2 bulbs

Updated: 10/15/2012, Digby_Adams
 
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poutine on 11/09/2013

Excellent advice for my shaded area in my backyard. Thanks.

katiem2 on 04/27/2012

What plants to add to my shady areas is the hardest gardening challenge for me. I appreciate the great tips and ideas on planting things to survive in the shaded, dark and often cooler areas. Love the lilies gotta give these a go! thanks

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