What is colorful and likes shade and lots of moisture?

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Friend in Sweden has a lot of shade and wet ground and is wondering what might do well and have some color. Any help appreciated.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)


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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Thanks, I have some astilbe and mine is in some sun, perhaps that is why it doesn't do so great? I had it in the shade and moved it when it didn't do real good there.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I have many in full sun and many in shade but all are planted with a great deal of our own compost. They've adapted well.

How about caladium for your friend? They are spectacular in shade.

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Port Moody, BC(Zone 8a)

Hello haighr,

I grow Lobelia cardinalis, common name Cardinal Flower in my shade garden, which stays very moist. I think I watered the area once last year. Anyway, Lobelia cardinalis likes consistent moisture and has several varieties in bright pink, blue, red and purple. Not sure if they are available in Sweden.

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Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Haighr, do you know what kind of climate your friend has? Nothing beats the bright colors and choices of caladium. As it is a tropical plant, I only put them outside in the late spring, summer and early fall.

Everything in my perennial shade garden with litle exception blooms in the spring. My favorite is epimedium, whose bloom is pink/red and white. The others all seem to be yellow blooms: celandon poppy, trout lilies and a few others that are native to my Connecticut/New England terrain. Also lovely shade plants with nice blooms are begonias of several different varieties. In pots, they winter well indoors.

Heucheras do well in shade and partial shade, but they do need drainage. The plants in the hanging pot are very happy in the shade. These are Heuchera Caramel and a deep pink viola. It is easier to provide drainage in a damp area with the use of pots and/or hanging planters. Heuchera winter well outdoors.

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Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Primulas can enjoy moist shade, as long as it has decent drainage. And they come in full range of bright colors.

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Hi - Love the ones you all have already ID'd. One that I've been surprised at -- never knew -- and comes in a wide range from blues, golds, variegated, and all shades of green are hosta. I did not know they could handle so much moisture, and no drainage, until I put them in the pond to hold for a few days before I transplanted. Got busy elsewhere - you know how it goes - and found they loved just sitting in the pond - so since then I always put in a few at the edges - here's a pic of one in the stream in front of a Cardinal flower and White Flag. That area gets half-shade, and is actually sitting in the stream bed -- Dax

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Gorgeous photo and setting, Dax!

The white Bleeding Heart may not be colorful but it certainly brightens up the shade.

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Great ideas everyone and love the photos. I'll share these with her and get more info on the type of soil. She is the friend of a friend of mine so I am getting her information 2nd. hand.

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Dax, that photo is delicious. I'd like to be there right about now.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Dax! Yummy!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

What anout Japanese primroses? I struggle to grow them because my soil isn't moist enough, so these are not the most vigorous examples, but now that I have more shade I am going to try them again.

And perhaps not colorful enough, but possibly athyrium niponicum 'Ursulas's Red'?

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I will pass along all the ideas and sure she will be delighted!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Gee Weerobin,

Forgive me. I'm a bonehead. You mentioned primulas, and I simply should have added that primula japonica is the easiest.


Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I'm not sure which type mine are.
I had been reluctant to try primulas since I heard they didn't like our humidity.
I remember picking out of the catalog based on which ones were more tolerant,
but I can't remember specifically.
The purple one pictured has spread nicely.
I wish the white one would spread, but it at least returns reliably.
And you can tell from the dead leaves on the ground that they bloom very early.

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

Very pretty, the purple is a wonderful color.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I wonder if Caladium will grow well in Sweden. I had one in NY, it loved the heat. Here in Seattle I tried again, it sprouts but it does not grow at all until August, just sits and looks pathetic, by the time it gets warm it is too late to grow and be showy. That is probably why I never see them here except if greenhouse grown. Sweden is even further north. Long summer evenings, but perhaps too short a growing season for Caladium? Sweden must also get really cold, so any recommendations need to be hardy. In addition to Astilbe, how about Bloodroot. The pretty white flowers might not be described as colorful, but it grows z 3-9, H 8-1 (heat zone 1 must include even Sweden!). It tolerates shade and wet, and seems trouble-free.

Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)

I gave my friend all the suggestions and I think she is real excited about trying the colorful caladiums and hostas.

Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Oo --- a favorite combination of mine -- here are some pics of caladium and hosta - both combined and separate. Because the hosta are hardy, they are more flexible - less maintenance - so the pics of different colors and sizes of hostas were taken in the woodland. They receive no maintenance whatever, except I spray them in early May when just coming up with an animal deterrent. I have deer that come through. Hope these spark her ideas -- Dax

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Cedar Rapids, IA(Zone 5a)

Oops - here are a few more -- the solid row of white edged hosta in the second picture are Patriot and are a favorite for borders as they are so tough and yet beautiful.

This message was edited Mar 2, 2012 10:16 AM

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Laurel, DE(Zone 7a)


Williamstown, NJ(Zone 6b)

Gee thanks for this thread. I have an area, large one, that is mostly ferns, But it can be rather moist at times even flooded. Most of what I have planted has drowned, I never knew that Cardinal flower likes moist. I love that plant. The butterflies love it. I will be looking for more of that or move the one that I have. But would love different colors.


Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I have an area with these conditions. I have different kinds of begonias, Purple Fountain Scutellaria (slightly raised area), a few primula (but only one survived our heat from last year), hosta, Thunbergia battiscombei planted in a pot, 2 golden shrimp plants and some cyclamen and a small Cutleaf Japanese Maple--Waterfall in the middle (slightly raised area). Some of these are a few years old, some I put in last year so I'm not sure what will survive long term. I'm glad I read this thread because I'd love to add some caladiums. Many people grow them in New Orleans and I miss them.

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Ladoga, IN(Zone 6a)

I'm going to add Virginia Bluebells, to my shade garden this year.They love shade and can even take flooding.

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