Deep Shade

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Help! Does anything bloom in deep shade? I live on a densely wooded hillside, and planted hostas in a particular area, but even they won't bloom there. I'm talking no sun, not even dappled. Impatiens didn't bloom there, either. I need some color! Even what I've read about caladiums and coleus says they at least need SOME light. Sure, we have wildflowers, but they don't bloom very long. Any suggestions? Oh, and deer resistant would be excellent! I don't ask for much, do I....LOL

This message was edited May 19, 2007 9:54 PM

Fort Edward, NY(Zone 5a)

Helleborus will bloom in shade, as will columbine. Astilbe do really well in deep shade, most hostas love shade, I am surprised they didnt make it for you.... For pretty greenery, ferns love shade. Heucheras are pretty colorful and are shade loving as well. Bleeding hearts are really pretty shade plants too...
HTH
~Dawn

This message was edited May 19, 2007 10:55 PM

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Thanks, huggle, I will check out the astilbe and bleeding hearts! Oh, and maybe painted ferns? The hostas do well, they just don't flower. I'll take some pics tomorrow and upload them so you can see the area.

Fort Edward, NY(Zone 5a)

Anytime Kywoods-I have alot of shady areas in my garden here. There arent that many things that I have found that did well, but by using different combinations of the ones I mentioned, all my shady areas look different. To be honest, I like Hostas for the foliage-half the time I dont notice them flowering anyway-LOL. The Hosta Sum and Substance is huge and a real eye catcher....

My all time favorite is Helleborus-so many color combinations, and columbine as well. I like alot of color...

Chesterland, OH(Zone 5b)

KyWoods,
Welcome to DG! I have mostly wooded property and at best I have part-shade. Just out of curiosity, is this area more of a hillside? Or more of a slope? Will you be walking up & down it or are you looking for something to make it green when you look upon it? I am just wondering, how dry an area this might be if the grade is steep? Also, I'm not sure if you are looking for ground cover or plants to make garden.

Huggle suggested Hellebores and I agree they would be great in deep shade, I have been growing some out in the woods for a few years and they are very happy, mine do receive some dappled light over the course of the day, but I don't think its much. I also have Astilbe out in the damp woods who get only any hour or two of dappled light and they bloom!

If you are wanting a area to mass plant...Pachysandra (I'm not crazy about it but I do grow it out in the woods in a wet spot ) it's evergreen and does bloom. There are some newer variegated varieties out there. There is always Ivy & vinca I have both growing on hillsides in the woods...Low maintenance!! You can even notice when the hill side is in bloom 80' away when driving down the road. Hey, There is a variegated Vinca green with yellow center-Vinca minor 'Illumination' check that out, lots of color!

A mass planting of Ajuga would make a statement in the spring when blooming and there are so many pretty Ajuga's now. Living in the woods I have NOT had luck with Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow' I don't know why it just does not like my place, I have not been able to winter it over...yet any other variety I have lives on and on...With the Ajuga you could have other plants growing up through it.

Asarum (gingers) would do great in the woods there is the native Asarum canadense the deer don't touch it and it has fuzzy leaves. Asarum europaeum shiny waxy leaves. I also grow Asarum splendens which is bluish & variegated with silver spots!

For lots of color I think you need to rely on your spring ephemeral's dog tooth violets, other violets, trilliums (deer food) other spring bulbs....Sanguinaria canadensis pretty spring flowers, the doubles are a knock out.

Oh, what about Yellow Archangel 'Hermann's Pride' (Lamium galeobdolon) I have some growing under a pine tree in deep shade and it is blooming right now. This is the one were the clump gets larger. Not the one that that runs all over the place and back again ( I have some of that if you want it) I feel thats worse than ivy.

Ferns (already mentioned) are wonderful for their texture, but like you mentioned I think you need to stay in the Athyrium family...what about the Autumn fern 'brilliance' that is a great fern, the coloring I feel is brighter and lasts longer.

Mayapples (Podophyllums) like spotty Dotty and Kaleidoscope for little variegation.

Carex (sedges) like 'Evergold' one of my favorites! It grows best with some light, justs grows slow in low light. Another favorite which I have growing in deep shade is Carex siderosticha 'Variegata' it is in deep dry shade it has taken a 3-4 years till it took off but now filling in nicely. I can't believe DG doesn't have a picture of this.. I will need to take one and send in... in the mean time you can Google for images. I also have 'Ice dance' that is doing very well in moist deep shade (only filtered indirect light)

I have an Itea (small shrub) in deep moist shade and has been blooming for the last few years.

I know I have not mentioned anything with bold/bright color, but you will find that is hard to do in deep shade. The only way I grow coleus is if I can buy them large in the spring. In deep shade they don't really grow for me..they stay alive, just don't really grow.

Well, I hope I have been some help for you....
Shadyfolks

Fort Edward, NY(Zone 5a)

Wow shady, alot of great suggestions that will help me too....I am always looking for different things to add into my shady spots-I have so many of them, and they are in my fromt yard. Go figure-my whole front is shade, my whole back is BRIGHT sun...LOL-All my pretty roses, sunflowers, daylillies, calla lilies and iris's are in back, and I struggle with the front.-although Helleborus is always my first choice when anyone asks me what my favorite is.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Ooo, thanks so much to both of you--nice to know that I'm not as limited as I thought! There are two areas I want to add color to, One is at the top of a small hill, but the area itself has been somewhat leveled off. There are hostas there, but I'd like some more color between them. The other is actually a little memorial garden I want to plant at my little poodle's gravesite. I hacked out some of the honeysuckle, leveled off an area for a future bench, and filled in her grave with more of the surrounding rich topsoil. I would like to plant on the grave as well as around it. And I would like to get a little sign or stone that say's "Welcome to Bonnie's Garden". Bon loved the woods! I even thought I might find some plants from the company, "Bonnieplants". :)

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Try Brunnera and Ligularia. The ligularia blooms late. Polygonatum is another nice early bloomer and if you buy the variegatum it's pretty all year long. Try using various foliage instead of bloom to make things beautiful.

You might want to look at this thread.
http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/682922/

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Thanks, doss! I checked out the pics of your garden in the shade thread--beautiful!

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

Planting in shade is a great adventure. Since you get to use unusual plants those areas can take on an exotic look.

Rockford, IL(Zone 4b)

I ahve a lot of shade here, too. There have already been some great suggestions. How about adding...

Toad lily (Tricyrtis). Miyazaki does great in my full shade and is gorgeous in the late summer and ealry fall.

I've had great luck with lobelia siphilitica, too. It get's tall purple spikes in mid summer.

Lamium for ground cover. There are lots of varieties, great color in the foliage, and pretty spring blooms.

I grow a bunch of different varieties of pulmonaria - they're stunning in the spring when they are in full bloom, and they are really easy to grow. Great foliage options when they're not in bloom, too.

Waukegan, IL(Zone 5a)

I have the shrub kerria japonica growing in the shadiest part of my yard, about 3 feet from my neighbors very tall house on the north side. It gets only a little filtered early morning sun and the same in the late afternoon. It blooms with brilliant golden flowers for 3 or 4 weeks in May. It also has delicate bright green leaves and stems. It spreads quite a bit so give it space. It is about 3 to 4 feet tall. I think the single flowered form is much prettier than the double. The single variety can be hard to find but worth the effort. Here's a picture of it in my garden.

Thumbnail by chris_h
Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

chris-h there is that pretty kerria japonica again beautiful this year also. Where did you purchase yours? Can it found on line? I suppose I could go to the plant scout and look it up. Ronna

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

well chris-h I just ordered two of them for my yard they are so pretty I ordered the singles as you suggested. Cant wait to get them. Thanks for posting the pictures. Ronna

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Here's a few pics for the suggestions made above. I have deep to dappled shade, but chose pics from areas that are in darker shade. I love caladium the most for a shot of color, and many do grow fine, although they won't bloom -

First, astilbe -

Thumbnail by dax080
Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

And caladium -

Thumbnail by dax080
Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

I love caladiums! I actually picked up three different ones at Wally World for only $3.49 apiece, and yes, one even has a bloom on it! I never knew they bloomed, either, but I guess I got lucky! It's a spadix, like the peace lily bloom--found info on it here, at the bottom of the page: http://www.ajc.com/living/content/living/homeandgarden/reeves/0814.html

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Cool! I've never seen a bloom here - you must have a dark green thumb! Just got my caladium in for this year, and just waiting for them to break ground! Dax

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

I would accept that compliment, but must admit that it was already in bloom when I bought it. Imagine that, surviving a trip in the back of a delivery truck and blooming at Walmart! I better go back and get more before they find out they have them cheaper than anybody else.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Chris_h: I'm curious about your Kerria also. There seem to be 2 commonly available singles: one that is just Kerria Japonica, and then the cultivar Kerria Japonica 'Golden Guinea.' I've seen some complaints about the foliage on the latter -- but I don't know if the foliage is the same on the regular Kerria Japonica.

Do you know which you have? It is so lovely! Have any cuttings to root?. . ..

Waukegan, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, I don't remember anything but Kerria Japonica. I am pretty sure it did not have a cultivar name but can't swear to it. The flowers actually are a more golden yellow than they appear in the picture.

This shrub spreads by runners and last year I dug up a piece and planted it and it flowered this year. Would there be any agricultural rules against sending rooted runners? I would need advice on when and how to send it. I have never tried rooting cuttings but could send those if you like - again, I would need advice.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Chris_h: I'm sending you a dmail.

Piedmont, MO(Zone 6a)

Hi KYwoods,

You might also consider adding a bit of color (don't overdo it) by using a painted terracotta pot in turquoise, hot pink, lavender or some other color. Be sure to use a color that matches something else...and just one pot (or other garden art like a small bench, birdfeeder, statue, etc).

I use a lot of annuals/houseplants to brighten up my deep shade. This year those include Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender', wandering jew, jewel orchid, purple perilla, rex begonias, achimenes, iresine, caladiums, and lots of coleus.

A perennial that really brightens up a dark area is the golden form of creeping jenny, which forms a ground cover. Also, the hardy begonia will give you some color in both leaf and bloom. There are yellow hostas that work well to brighten up the shade and the hostas with white in them are great at night.

Hope this helps,
Toxi

Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

We haven't mentioned epimediums yet. They are very nice ground covers and will tolerate even dry shade.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Thanks, everyone, for all the wonderful ideas! Bonnie's Garden will be lovely!

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

chris_h my kerrias arrived on friday boy i got busy the next day and put them in the ground i sure hope i put them in good spots. cant wait until they grow its going to be so pretty. i like yellow flowers. the flowers kinda look like forsythias dont they? except these do blossom in the shade. well thanks again Ronna

Piedmont, MO(Zone 6a)

Oh, both hardy and florist's cyclamen are great for the shade too!

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Any idea where to find hardy cyclamen? I bought some from Parks and they rotted. Other places I have seen them are sold out. I really want some (though of course I can't afford an arm and a leg).

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

The local grocery store has potted cyclamen for $6 a plant! Anyway, they won't winter over, right? Sure are pretty, though. I have searched for the hardy ones, but it seems they aren't available all year 'round.

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

i had the same problem with cyclamin they also rotted. i was so dissappointed but thats the breaks huh? i cant afford to lose any plants either. I almost cry when i do lose one

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Gardenlady123 -- Parks refunded me the money when they didn't make it through the winter. I'm definitely going to get them again, but I'm going to be very careful to keep them dry.

Waukegan, IL(Zone 5a)

Ronna,

I think you'll be really happy with the Kerrias. Good luck with them.

Chris

Piedmont, MO(Zone 6a)

Hardy cyclamen do need to be dry, especially in the winter. I put one in a low spot and lost it last year. I got mine from Park seed many years ago.

My florist's cyclamen will be lifted and potted this fall and they usually bloom all winter inside. I love the foliage even if they are not in bloom.

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

this is my new shade garden last year.

Thumbnail by gardenlady123
Stanford, CA(Zone 9b)

very pretty garden lady

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

That's lovely! I want to get a bench to go in mine when it's completed. Nothing better than to have a quiet, pretty place to relax.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

I agree -- I've always wanted a bench. Only problem in my yard is that I'd share it with the mosquitos!

Plainwell, MI(Zone 5b)

this a nother picture of a shady part of the yard

Thumbnail by gardenlady123
Orangeville, ON(Zone 4b)

Very pretty gardenlady! What is the name of the ground cover surrounding your hosta?

Erynne

Gent, Belgium(Zone 8a)

I think it is Galium odoratum. A very lovely ground cover for shady places! I have a lot of it in my shady garden.

Thumbnail by bonitin

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