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Shady Gardens: What can I plant in my deep dark "hole"-zone 4

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Forum: Shady GardensReplies: 26, Views: 235
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DMurray407
Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 9, 2008
1:32 PM

Post #4780831

I have an area in my yard that is between the garage and storage shed and shaded by large lilac bushes . My planter bed in that area is about 12 feet long, 3ft wide. Hostas do OK there-everything else I've planted struggles for about a year and then just doesn't come back the next spring. The squirrels seem to especially love digging up the plants in this area and the soil tends to be on the dry side there (it's the farthest area away from a water source so it always seems to be hit and miss watered). I will be adding a drip irrigation system hopeully this summer so that should help. I will also prune the lilac bushes back slightly, but the neighbors have a big spruce tree that will still block the light. Does anyone have any suggestions for extremely tough, hardy shade loving plants? I don't even care if they bloom-I just want something (annuals or perennials) to put in with the hostas.
Any suggestions are appreciated-
Thanks!
Deb
pondmeme
Fort Smith, AR
(Zone 7a)

April 9, 2008
1:42 PM

Post #4780894

How about ferns? I am getting some to mix with my hostas.
DMurray407
Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 9, 2008
2:01 PM

Post #4780978

Ferns might do OK-I think I tried one a few years ago and the squirrels got it. They just seem to love certain plants. I've started putting little fences-just chicken wire circles about 12" high-around a lot of my new plants-epecially the Heuchera (actually I think the bunnies are to blame for eating them!) Maybe if I tried the little cages around the ferns they would do OK-great suggestion! That would make a nice contrast with the hostas.
Thanks!
Deb
pondmeme
Fort Smith, AR
(Zone 7a)

April 9, 2008
2:10 PM

Post #4781031

Coleus is another one I am going to plant in my shade beds. They are relatively inexpensive and the foliage looks good all season. They would add some color...might be squirrel or bunny food too!

lavender4ever

lavender4ever
(Louise) Highland, MI
(Zone 5b)

April 9, 2008
2:13 PM

Post #4781040

I planted perilla in my shady trouble spot. It looks lovely and it reseeds.
pondmeme
Fort Smith, AR
(Zone 7a)

April 9, 2008
2:47 PM

Post #4781231

I am not familiar with Perilla, but did a search and it is pretty. I will see if I can find it around here.
DMurray407
Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 9, 2008
3:04 PM

Post #4781319

I wonder if it's too dark for coleus . . .
pondmeme
Fort Smith, AR
(Zone 7a)

April 9, 2008
3:36 PM

Post #4781536

I wonder if it's too dark for coleus . . .

It might be...the only way to tell is try a few. Around here a 6-pack costs under $2. Sometimes I will try something like that and if it works, great, if not I haven't been out much $$.

lavender4ever

lavender4ever
(Louise) Highland, MI
(Zone 5b)

April 9, 2008
3:48 PM

Post #4781629

I have the more common purple variety but just ordered Magilla which is the highly colored one. It grows in sun or shade and actually is much prettier in the shade. If you cannot find any I can check and see what pops up and send you a couple. It increases very well by itself each year. Dmail me if you cannot find it anywhere. It grows easily from seed too.
shokami2
Coos Bay, OR
(Zone 8a)

April 9, 2008
3:52 PM

Post #4781666

japanese spurge might do well, large leaved ground cover with fragrant white flowers, or maybe some types of bamboo? oh snake root loves shade and gets tall and smells wonderfull.
pondmeme
Fort Smith, AR
(Zone 7a)

April 9, 2008
3:57 PM

Post #4781706

Thanks, lavender4ever! I will be checking and let you know. I have several large shade beds that I am concentrating on filling this year.

lavender4ever

lavender4ever
(Louise) Highland, MI
(Zone 5b)

April 9, 2008
4:13 PM

Post #4781818

Bishops weed is a good one too and spreads like crazy.
pondmeme
Fort Smith, AR
(Zone 7a)

April 9, 2008
4:18 PM

Post #4781841

shokami2, what is snake root? I did a search but could not find a picture or description.
shokami2
Coos Bay, OR
(Zone 8a)

April 9, 2008
4:27 PM

Post #4781919

its part of the eupatorium family. gets very tall, theres a white and a black snakeroot. if you google it too you can see lots of pics. i delivered a few and my truck smelled heavenly
DMurray407
Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 9, 2008
4:41 PM

Post #4782011

The city guy was just here for 2 hrs replacing my water meter so I had a little time to do some research on ferns-these are some varieties that should thrive in my zone 4 dark hole:
Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium nipponicum)
Lady Fern (Athyrium)
Northern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum)
True Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)
Wood Fern ( Dryopteris)
Deb
pondmeme
Fort Smith, AR
(Zone 7a)

April 9, 2008
4:53 PM

Post #4782054

Japanese Painted Fern is so pretty and was Perennial of the Year for 2004. Of course, I like all ferns!
wood_fern
Urbandale, IA

April 10, 2008
3:50 PM

Post #4787094

I’m in the same situation…updating a north side entry way always in shade. Especially like the many colors of astilbes, which has tall feathery looking blooms. Checked at local Home Depot and Lowes and many of the plants shown will be available for sale by them (in about a month in my location) for $4-$8. So everything is pretty reasonable in price.
shokami2
Coos Bay, OR
(Zone 8a)

April 10, 2008
4:23 PM

Post #4787219

sounds great wood... be sure you check the roots before you buy them. i might be a little biased since i work in a nursery (i get stuff from wally world and another store too lol shhhh) but alot of times the root system in those store pots suck! i had someone tell me how cheap their (safeway and fred myers) arbor vitaes were and i went and knocked one out of the pot and all it was , was a huge mud ball. the roots hadnt even reached the edge yet. sigh... people just dont know better and wonder why their plants die in a few weeks! lol

and...oh my, watched a video feed from dyi and the home improvement guy was showing how to plant a eco-friendly yard and such, he dug the hole, said oh no dont put any mulch in it you can casue root rot, (huh?) (everything i have is in mulch! lol ) just a little compost on the bottom of the hole, then popped the plant out (at least he did that part right) and said "now dont loosen the root sytem you could damage the roots" i was like YES do loosen them, i almost replied tot the video...omgoodness. arghhhhhhhh, he needs to stick to building lol

sorry about rambling lol :P
NorthernSeasons
Bozeman, MT
(Zone 4b)

April 13, 2008
1:16 AM

Post #4799678

Pulmonaria is good and it flowers! I also like Lily of the Valley which is a spring bulb. Tirella (Foam Flower) is has a nice, light and airy flower. Heucheras would be a super foliage plant as well as, Lady's Mantle. And of course, the Queen of shade, the Bleeding Heart. Good luck. You'll have a blast with shade plants.

Thumbnail by NorthernSeasons
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Joan6aON
Mississauga, ON
(Zone 6a)

April 14, 2008
1:22 PM

Post #4806359

Some that you could try are Pulmonaria, Heuchera, and Shenandoah Switch grass. If you can trim the lilacs back some more that would probably help.
dovebydesign
Greentown, IN
(Zone 5b)

April 14, 2008
2:53 PM

Post #4806822

Wow...I am liking some of these suggestions for my hosta gardens. I need to branch out from just hosta and I added ferns last year with some columbine and huerchra. The coral bells all but died. I mean they did survive but barely. It is just too dark. But bleeding heart is returning. Well of the 20 I planted 4 are returning...it is early so I am still hopeful.

Does Pulmonaria do well in that deep shade? If so then which varities?

Thumbnail by dovebydesign
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DMurray407
Buffalo, MN
(Zone 4a)

April 14, 2008
4:21 PM

Post #4807235

Dove, what a beautiful garden! It looks nearly as dark as mine. I love hostas too, so they are my mainstay, but you do need something a little different once in a while!
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

April 14, 2008
4:33 PM

Post #4807289

Violets, vinca and lamium make nice ground cover in full shade. I've started experimenting with clover in full shade and it also works in dry conditions (might take over in wet). Aquilegia/columbine is a must for me in shade. Also try climbing bleeding heart for height (true biennial so needs to be put in two years in a row). English ivy will winter over if mulched really well and shouldn't be invasive in your zone. I put in hops last year as another full shade climber but the jury's still out on that. Ligularia will do well if its kept moist enough. Monkshood and berginia will even flower if kept happy. Yarrow also does shade. Ajuga will also behave itself in full shade. I mix it with annual lobelia and it's very pretty. LOL can you tell I have ALOT of shade.
Joan6aON
Mississauga, ON
(Zone 6a)

April 14, 2008
5:24 PM

Post #4807518

Yes, lamium does well but spreads like crazy.
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

April 14, 2008
5:43 PM

Post #4807593

I don't find it so bad in full shade Joan6aON. Maybe cuz I'm in a less hardy zone?
Joan6aON
Mississauga, ON
(Zone 6a)

April 14, 2008
5:52 PM

Post #4807638

Yes dahlianut, the amount of sun they get does make a difference.
dahlianut
Calgary, AB
(Zone 3a)

April 14, 2008
6:03 PM

Post #4807686

dovebydesign luvly, luvly shade garden. I find pulmonaria does great under deciduous trees. Gets enough spring sun to keep it happy and doesn't seem to care about being in shade the rest of the summer. The ones I have in season long full, dry shade are not thriving but then I think its the dry conditions rather than the full shade. I plan to move some into moist full shade to see if that makes a difference.

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