If you find that your garden has limited access to natural light then fear not, there are still many plants available for growing in partial or even fully shaded areas.
Highly shaded areas need not be a deterrent to getting active in the garden and are in fact increasing becoming more popular as gardeners in many urban areas are finding ways of making the most of every possible little piece of space. Be creative and you will easily find something that can fill almost every little corner of the garden.
Creating your own border when light is restricted can actually be an easy process and doesn’t differ too much from planning a sunny border.
Two essential considerations when selecting shade loving plants….
- Good drainage
- Make sure the soil receives a good level of nutrients
During the wetter periods of the year and in particular when little light is present to absorb the extra moisture on the surface, good drainage will help maintain a good growing environment and provide the best chance possible for the roots. Because the sun is restricted then you can help the plants in shaded areas by adding a natural organic substance or fertiliser to the soil to help enrich the soil. This will help replace the nutrients that may be missing and hopefully help avoid the soil from drying out.
Creating your own border when light is limited can be an easy process. When choosing plants have a check to see if they will tolerate partial shade or full shade, then let your own preference be the guide. Have a look now at some of our suggested plants and bulbs, all suitable for planting now in preparation for flowering next year.
The range of perennial plants and shrubs available is quite extensive and there is sure to be something for everyone.
Designer Hostas are a popular choice because of the wonderful foliage they offer and can really add a touch of class to the border.
Ferns will prosper beautifully and come in such a variety of colours that they must be worth a try.
Tricyrtis (Toad Lilies) can also be used to add an unusual effect with their truly amazing spotted flowers in autumn.
The front of a border can benefit from the stunning foliage that Heuchera can bring, particularly since recent developments in breeding have introduced new colourful varieties such as ‘Autumn Leaves’ (bright ruby red foliage) and ‘Plum Royale’ (shiny purple foliage). These low-growing plants will easily fill gaps and spaces in the border that may be left between larger trees and shrubs.
If you would like to add little fragrance in spring then we suggest trying the very reliable Convallaria Bordeaux (Giant Lily of the Valley), great for planting in groups where the white flowers show themselves from the middle of spring on wards.
Monarda are a superb choice for fragrance in summer and autumn, where the spiky head flowers are complimented by a wonderful mint aroma.
A new improved version of the more common Bergenia. The hardiness of Bergenia makes it suitable for gardens all over the country, even in some of the colder parts of northeast Scotland.
Popular shrubs for a shade-loving border come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be grown as stand-alone items in a border, while all those listed below will work side-by-side with many perennials and shrubs to add a really varied showing.
The big leaf varieties will do well in shade. Our pick is Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Magical Revolution Blue,’ which will tolerate even fully shaded areas where almost no natural light gets in. This variety produces large headed blue flowers, which actually turn deep purple as the flowers mature.
A marvellous narrow conifer tree that can grow up to 3m, and because of its slender column shape it will not restrict light for other areas of the garden.
If you have a south-facing or a wall where light is obstructed then why not try growing a climber up the wall, with Virginia Creeper the ideal candidate because of its remarkable leaf colourings, especially in autumn.
A great variegated leafed evergreen shrub that will grow in almost any garden soil and location. Wonderful for growing underneath trees as well, where the blue flowers appearing in spring can last up until autumn.
For year around appeal you could also try the increasingly popular Pachysandra terminalis, which will save hours of intensive garden labour by suppressing weeds and acting as a ground cover shrub. The vivid green, succulent foliage is a real sight when planted in rows and can act as a low growing path boundary or screen.
A good way to make the most of shaded areas under trees and large shrubs is the introduction of naturalising bulbs, which left undisturbed over time will often multiply to create a beautiful woodland effect.
Many varieties are suitable to grow is shaded areas and our favourites to give a try are ‘Cheerfulness’ (Showy double white variety), ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ (Lemon yellow blooms) and the original native UK Daffodil ‘Obvallaris’, fondly known as the Tenby Daffodil. (Illustrated in order mentioned from left to right).
Great for planting en masse and leaving to multiply in highly shaded areas. The dwarf nature of these perennial bulbs make they great for adding a little bit of colour where needed. For some spring colour try planting Crocus ‘Prince Claus’ (colourful blend of white and blue) or the wonderful yellow Crocus ‘Fuscotinctus’. Iris reticulata ‘Cantab’ will offer an enchanting pale blue display or the popular Muscari armeniacum will create a sea of lavender blue/purple.
The perfect flower to round up our list. Coming across bluebells in the wild is a real treat and many people like to grow their own. They love being planted under trees and are a real delight in dappled shade. Also supply these in the green for easy transplantation and reliable results.