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Coral Bells Garden Design Idea

Coral Bells Rave On

Coral Bells or Heuchera are terrific shade perennials to use beneath a base of a tree. This setting will stay showy throughout the season. (Sedum Flaming Carpet is used as an edging)

Rave On Heuchera (Coral Bells) is a beautiful shade perennial or groundcover – especially when planted in mass as featured here (sent in from Elizabeth – a customer of www.GreatGardenPlants.com)

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.

Easy Landscape Ideas with Drought Proof Festuca

You can create a more powerful impact when you use Festuca in groupings of 5 or more

Create a more powerful impact in your landscape when you use Festuca in groupings of 5 or more

Looking for an easy garden design idea that will add some impact to your perennial garden? I love using Festuca Boulder Blue for a number of reasons.  This sun loving ornamental grass is easy to grow, looks great throughout the year and thrives in sun, high heat & humidity in well drained soil.  Hardy from Zones 4-9.   I believe it is one of of the best drought proof sun loving perennial groundcovers out there.

Add Color & Texture

Have some unpleasant spots in your garden?  The handsome mound shape and narrow blue foliage make be just the ticket as it adds season long color & texture.

Break Up Competing Colors

If you have two strong competing colors that are just rubbing you the wrong way try planting a group of this soothing blue Festuca between them.  Festuca is the ideal perennial to help break up strong competing colors in the garden

Small Space Gardening

Festuca grows 12”x12” so it tucks ever so nicely along narrow pathways, beneath shrubs or edging a perennial border.

Plant in Groups

If you really want to add impact, plant in groupings of 5 or more.

Repeating

Some of the most beautiful gardens do a great job in repeating similar plants in adjacent areas. This frequently leads to a more harmonious flow in the garden.

Care & Growing Tips

  • Add sand to heavier soils.
  • Allow plants to dry out between watering.
  • In the spring, use a sheers to prune away any dead foliage from winter
  • Fertilize in the spring with Osmocote or a balanced granular fertilizer

I know you’ll really enjoy Festuca – an easy to grow and care perennial.  Click Here for a Sun Perennial Garden Design Idea

Where to Buy Festuca Boulder Bluewww.GreatGardenPlants.com

 

 

Tough Groundcover – Plumbago

Plumbago is a moderate spreader and keeps it tidy good looks throughout the gardening season.

A real dependable “tough it out” ground cover is Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides).  Yes it is a mouthful – but oh what an underutilized ground cover for sun to partly shaded areas (or those transitional areas) that is worth growing in your garden.

If you are looking for a  moderate spreader that gives you light glossy foliage that looks nice and tidy throughout the growing season (and helps suppress the weeds) Plumbago is definitely a groundcover to consider looking charming beneath shrubs or as an edging plant.

Great Fall Color!

I really like blue flowers which appear in mid summer just when you need a pop of color for the garden.   You’ll get some nice fall color too when the foliage turns to a red coppery bronze color.  Give it good drainage, and let it do its thing as it thrives on neglect.

Be patient in spring. Plumbago breaks dormancy later that most plants.

  • Botanical:  Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
  • Common: Plumbago
  • USDA – Zone 5-8
  • Light:  Full sun to part shade.  Shade in hot afternoon.
  • Size:  6-12 inches tall
  • Spread:  Moderate spread by rhizomes 1-2 feet wide
  • Features: Tolerate clay, sand, drought, part shade, sun,  deer,
  • Uses:  Undemanding groundcover

Hellebore-Great Groundcover for Dry Shade

Hellebore is a drought & deer proof groundcover for the shade perennial garden

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.

Ajuga – Fast Spreading Groundcover for Beneath Trees & Difficult Areas

Need a fast spreading drought proof groundcover that will grow beneath trees?

Chocolate Chip Ajuga is an attractive deer proof groundcover that nestles in nicely between pavers, under trees, and other hard to grow areas in sun or shade

Ajuga or Bugleweed is easy to grow and virtually maintenance free perennial groundcover for hard to grow places.  I’m particularly fond of Chocolate Chip Ajuga (‘Valfredda’) where it can easily cover an 18” area in just one season.  It is one of my favorite ground covers beneath trees where other groundcover struggle and it looks great year-round!

Ajuga is a deer proof evergreen groundcover with vibrant foliage and showy purple flowers in spring. Low growing mats are only 3” tall. Hardy to Zone 4-9,  It thrives in both sun and shade.

Growing anything under trees can be difficult. First of all, trees create a “rain shadow” where it is always drier beneath a tree.  Secondly, some trees such as maples, poplars and willow have heavy feeder roots that rest near the surface, making it virtually impossible to grow, let alone even dig a hole for planting.

Beware of Ajuga Lawn! If planted close to turf, Ajuga will spread into your lawn which becomes difficult to eradicate.

Ajuga is ideal with its  shallow roots that grow within just a few inches of the ground.  It competes effectively between tree roots and drier conditions while spreading quickly by way of runners. Runners are easily removed if it gets beyond its bounds.

Ajuga is not a groundcover for everybody or to be placed in a mixed perennial border.

Ajuga is one of the best groundcovers for weed control. Weeds find it tough to sprout through their thick root system.

Ajuga Tips

  • Avoid “Ajuga lawn” by planting away from  turf or you’ll have a co-mingling of lawn & Ajuga.
  • Don’t plant anything nearby unless you are using beneath shrubs or trees.
  • Thick root system makes Ajuga ideal for erosion control
  • Ideal between pavers
  • Excellent for large areas where you want to have a quick spread
  • Ideal under shallow rooted trees where nothing else will grow

Related Articles

Growing Plants Under Walnut Trees

8 Best Shade Loving Groundcovers

Problem Solving Plants for Slopes & Banks

Where to Shop for Ajuga Chocolate Chip

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