Archive for the ‘Shade Plants’ Category
I’m going to share with you a garden TIP on growing Heucheras (Coral Bells) that has help me improve my success growing this popular garden plant.
Ever since all those new foliage colors in Coral Bells have come out – I’ve been sucked into this coral bell craze. The wide color range, neat habit and tiny spikes of flowers are perfect for tucking in borders, along pathways and containers.
But here are a few guidelines I’ve used in the past few years that have worked for me when deciding on what trendy foliage color to use and where I’m going to place it.
Plant in good, well drained soil where it will receive a minimum of 1″ water a week.
1) Dark foliage types – are more sun tolerant. Berry Smoothie Coral Bells is ravishing in this garden bed – soaking in the rays and looking brilliant.
Plant in: full sun or morning shade and afternoon sun.
2) Light foliage types – need protection from hot afternoon sun. Even with that said, by August the foliage color
will still fade.
Plant: Morning sun, afternoon shade
You will have different results depending on what region of the country you are from, but for me in my Michigan garden, these simply guidelines really help me enjoy Heucheras even more.
First of all, we love getting photos of gardens– especially as beautiful and well done as this one. Secondly, this is a blooming machine so Elizabeth (and the hummingbirds) will enjoy blooms all summer long. Thirdly, this photo illustrates what a hard working perennial Coral Bells are since not all shade plants will thrive well beneath a base of a tree where it must compete against tree roots.
‘Rave On’ has beautiful silver foliage with bright rose pink flowers that stay attractive all season long. This is a terrific shade perennial that is a work horse in the garden and easy to grow. If you need that punch of color (both foliage & blooms), try Heuchera ‘Rave On’. This shade plant will not disappoint you.
Have you ever noticed how poorly some plants do beneath trees and tall shrubs? Tree roots can easily zap away moisture and nutrients leaving anything under planted looking weary & tired.
Rather than fight with it, select from a group of care-free plants that can take dry shade conditions and have minimal requirements when it comes to nutrients & moisture.
I particularly love Hellebores for this. When I planted seven of these early spring flowering ground covers last fall I thought I’m not sure if they are all going to make it. I dug pretty hard to get in between a few tree roots and there wasn’t a lot of soil for me to work with. I added some topsoil, mulched and watered well and to my amazement they all made it through next spring.
I do like planting spring flowering plants such as Hellebore in the fall. Plants still grow in the fall because soil temperature and moisture levels are usually at a level that promotes rapid root growth needed to sustain plants through the first critical year in the landscape. So by spring I’ll have larger more established plants and more blooms to enjoy that first year.
Hellebores is a terrific solution if you have dry shade in your perennial garden. In addition to the beautiful spring flowers, hellebore is the perfect deer resistant shade plant with evergreen foliage which provides year round interest.
Climbing Hydrangea or Hydrangea anomala petiolaris is one of the few hardy flowering vines that will tolerate shade.
This colossal climbing vine requires sturdy support (such as a tree) and thrives in part shade conditions. A fast growing deciduous vine, climbing Hydrangeas will grow 30 feet tall or more. It is hardy from Zones 4-9.
This climber clings by tentacles (like ivy) on any surface. It’s easy to train up a tree. Once planted, simply lay the stems near the tree and it will stick like super glue. You never have to do anything to them except an occasional prune to keep them within bounds.
Attractive green heart-shaped glossy foliage is accented with showy white fragrant lace-cap type blooms in early summer.
If grown as a ground cover it can cover up to 200 square feet once established.
Give Hydrangea fertile, moist, well drained soil.
Climbing Hydrangea can take a couple of years to establish itself in the landscape, so it requires a bit of patience. After 2 years or so, they really take off. I can tell you it is definitely worth the wait as it offers the most stunning vertical beauty for any shade garden.
Since its discovery, Brunnera Jack Frost PP 13,859 has won numerous awards including Perennial Plant of the Year in 2012 and Best New Perennial of the Year at Plantarium, The Netherlands. Jack Frost has warmed the hearts of many gardeners both new and experienced. I can’t think of a more beautiful deer proof shade plant and one that is so adaptable in perennial garden design.
Few shade perennials have such interesting silver foliage throughout the season. This clump forming perennial is a versatile groundcover grows 15-18″ tall x 15-18″ wide. Hardy to zone 5 (probably hardier)
In spring, small oblong leaves gradually grow into larger heart-shaped leaves after the conclusion of the flowering period. Beautiful, wispy panicles of sky blue flowers appear in early spring.
How To Grow
- Does best in moisture retentive soil in part shade. In my area of the country (Michigan) it can take some pretty dry shade.
- Plant in area where it receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Watch for too much sun or hot spots.
- Don’t worry that the leaves are small in spring – they will get much larger (5-8″ across) as the plant grows.
- Best in moist soil. Add 3 inches of mulch to keep moist
- If you notice crispy leaf edges – plants are getting too dry. I ofte cut these leaves all the way back. Plants might stay dormant for a while before flushing out with new foliage growth.
- Cut back blooms after fading. Plants stays more attractive that way.
Here’s what you’ll love about this plant
- Silver shade plant. Why is that important? Silver infuses light into dark corners of the shade garden
- Foliage stays colorful and attractive throughout the season
- Blue flowers in spring – which compliments spring blooming bulbs
- Easy to grow – Prefers consistent moisture
- Low Maintenance
- Deer & Rabbit Resistant
- No serious insects or disease issues
- Late evening gardening – still visible at dusk
- It’s just plain gorgeous!
Stay tuned for our hands on Garden Design Tips with Brunnera in our next article