Making the most of Shade by Myles Challis

Many are mistakenly under the impression that shade is a no go area for plants.  Obviously some plants do need sun but many are happy in either sun or shade and for some shade is a necessity.

Plants for the Shade for sale at Paramount Plants, London, UK

Acers | Pieris | Osmanthus | Fatsia Japonica

Most gardens have at least one shady area so it is useful to know what can grow there.  Providing the soil is not too dry, shade or dappled shade is ideal for structural plants such as Japanese Acers, Camellias, Pieris, Viburnums, Osmanthus, Rhododendrons, Azaleas and especially Tree Ferns and Fatsia JaponicaLow growing plants like Daphne Odora Aureomarginata won’t get too large and have flowers which are scented in late winter/early spring.

These are all woodland plants in their natural environment.  Because of the amount of leaf litter (leaf drop) the soil in these woodland areas is usually quite acid.   If your soil isn’t acidic you can change it by incorporating a quantity of ericaceous soil and mulch.

Evergreen Flowering Shrubs that grow in the shade

Camellias | Rhododendrons | Azaleas

All the plants mentioned except the Acers are evergreen.  The Camellias, Rhododendrons and Azaleas are Spring and Summer flowering.  The Tree Ferns, Acers and Fatsias are striking architectural (structural) foliage plants.

Climbers in shady areas include Trachelospernum Jasminoides – this evergreen jasmine has scented star-shaped white flowers.  Other climbers suitable for shade are Garrya Elliptica and Wisteria.

Climbing plants that grow in the shade

Garrya Elliptica | Trachelospernum Jasminoides | Wisteria Sinensis

Another common misconception is that palm trees will not grow in shade and must have sunny areas.  Trachycarpus Fortunei, the hardiest palm in the world, prefers to grow in dappled shade and excels in woodland areas.

For a talking point in the garden the unusual and incredibly striking Wollemi Pine is the tree to add and this works well in shady or sunny areas.

Shady areas can still be exciting….