Shade garden ideas please!

Bryan, TX(Zone 8b)

I have a piece of yard that is tucked off in a corner that stays considerably moist and gets dappled sunlight at best. I'm in zone 8b. Any suggestions of what I can plant?
I'm looking for nice vines, ground cover, fern, and color. :)

Thank you!

South Lake Tahoe, CA(Zone 6a)

Send you a D-Mail.

Chevy Chase, MD(Zone 7a)

Moist shade -- that's wonderful! I'm cursed with dry shade! But most ferns should thrive in your conditions, and ligularias. Of course, hosta. Ajuga and bigroot geranium for ground covers.

Poulsbo, WA

Perennial Impatiens omeiana will thrive under those conditions and give some interesting color. Its leaves are forest green with a light green center stripe and a touch of burgundy at the base, stems are burgundy. The foliage is the reason to grow this plant, but it does get nice butter yellow flowers in the early fall. It dies back after the temperatures dip into the 30s, but springs up quickly again in the spring. Height can vary quite a bit depending on moisture and shade levels. I have some in a drier, sunnier area that stays about 8" tall and some in a wetter, shadier area that gets to be about 30" tall. Vancouveria planipetala and dwarf London's Pride, both of which would be evergreen for you, also would be happy there.

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Bryan, TX(Zone 8b)

Thank you, fernfarmer, for the suggestions! I'll be looking into those :) I'd love to have ferns but I've never had luck with them indoors. What are some good, hardy ferns I can try outside in this area?


Poulsbo, WA

I'm also in Zone 8b, but I suspect you get more heat in the summer than we do, so you should talk to someone at a good nursery in your area to be sure what would work. Personally, I find outdoor ferns much easier to keep happy than indoor ferns. The ferns in the picture I posted earlier are Athyrium otophorum "Okanum' (aka Eared Lady Fern). I like the way their red stems go with the Impatiens. I think they are attractive even after the fronds darken up, but they start out a bit greyish green in the spring and the foliage is particularly interesting then (first image). In my garden, these ferns hang on until early spring (although they look fairly spent by then), when I cut them down just before new growth emerges. Another fern I like and have found easy to grow is Polystichum tsus-simense (Korean Rock Fern), which has black stems. New fronds are light green and darken with age. The Korean Rock Fern is evergreen here. (second image). I like most of the Polystichum ferns, some have shiny fronds, some are matte, but all seem to be quite durable and evergreen in zone 8b. If you want something larger, the deciduous Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern) is beautiful. The third picture below is a baby, a mature plant can be up to 5' tall in this area. There is a purple version that is really beautiful too.

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Dallas, TX

I'm in Dallas which some consider 8a and others consider 8b. Keeping that in mind, here are a few more ferns that do very well in my neighborhood. Two evergreen ferns are Japanese Holly fern and Autumn fern. A deciduous fern worth considering is the Wood fern. Sorry that I don't have the Latin names handy. When I lived in Austin awhile back, we bought a smallish Staghorn fern just for grins. We put it in a shady spot that we didn't frequent very much. Imagine our surprise when we did pass by that side of the house only to find a humongous fern. But back in Dallas, I'm experimenting with some other new-to-me ferns, all of which are evergreen. But as I've only had them for about a month, I won't list them since I don't yet know what their growth/survival rate(s) will be. Experiment and have some fun.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Moist shade is perfect for some of the shade-tolerant grasses and grass-like plants.
You might consider including some of them.
Here are some examples from my yard:

#1 acorus gramineus minimus aureus is a slowly spreading 2-3" tall bright gold grass.
Very cute.
#2 is carex siderosticha Island Brocade. Looks nice in the ground or here in a pot.
#3 shows comparison between the golden liriope PeeDee Ingot and dwarf mondo grass (ophiopogon).
The latter is deep green and fills in slowly, just 2-3" tall. The liriope is taller, maybe a foot or more.
I like the combination. I also have black mondo and white variegated, which are interesting.
#4 is hakonechloa in a shade garden.
#5 shows how substantial hakonechloa can get - I really love it. This is All Gold.

This message was edited Nov 10, 2012 7:15 AM

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Newburgh, IN(Zone 6a)

Just found out the name of this plant today. Great addition to my shade garden as it is a late bloomer. Still blooming now even after a couple of heavy frosts. Farfugium 'Last Dance' PP 20,947 (Last Dance Leopard Plant) It gets sun now because the leaves are down but until late October is was in mostly shade and kept moist by sprinkler system in that bed to keep impatiens well watered. Overwintered here in zone 6b last year.

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Somewhere in, MD(Zone 7b)

Hi there! Wow, those conditions sound GREAT for Astilbes, for colour. They like mostly shade/dappled sun and wet or damp feet, and there's lots of different coloured blooms, from whites to lighter to darker pinks. Just another idea. Thanks for letting us all weigh in. =)

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