Shade-Loving Plants for the Garden

Do you have a shaded area in your garden where it seems like nothing will grow there? Full shade areas can look dreary but don’t worry, there are plants to suit every garden, and all you need is a little creativity. There are so many varieties on offer in a mix of shapes, sizes and colours suitable for brightening any shaded spot. Below, we have compiled a list of our most suitable picks, from ground cover to perennial flowers and grasses, to add to any shaded spot in the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suitability

To grow healthy plants in shady areas, it is important to match the degree of shade that a plant needs or will tolerate with available light. Do you know which type of shade applies to your garden?

Partial Shade: A situation in half sun and half shade where there is some direct sun but possibly for less than half the hours of daylight.

Full Shade: Under tree cover, shrubberies, and  buildings. If a site gets less than 2 hours of direct sun a day, it is considered heavy shade.

 

A common misconception is that there are a group of plants that love shade, but the truth is that some plants can tolerate shady areas better than others. Here’s an easy checklist to decide whether the plants you are considering for a shady area are really a suitable candidate. They will need to be either:

  • Suitable for neutral to acid soils
  • Variegated foliage
  • Evergreen
  • Prefer moist or wet soil

Perennials

Some may think they have no choice but to add foliage to shaded areas of the garden. However, shade flowering perennials thrive in areas that receive little to no direct sunlight and can help to bring a little colour to a dark corner. Here are some of our suggestions for shade tolerant blooms:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a beautiful perennial to brighten up a shaded spot? Our Acanthus mollis Whitewater produces tall spikes of white flowers against their backdrop of dark green variegated foliage; a perfect addition to borders or large patio containers.

Tip – These pretty flowers can be cut for vase displays or dried floral arrangements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fascinating clump-forming perennial produces striking mint scented flowers of a deep purple shade against bronze tinged foliage. Monarda Blaustrumpf would make the perfect addition for flower beds and borders and thrive in semi or full shade where other perennials may struggle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This useful and hardy plant does well in all types of shade. Geranium Versicolor is ideal for planting in borders or patio pots for adding striking and unusual blooms to your garden with their vivid pink veined white flowers. This variety makes for great ground-cover in full or partial shade.

 

Ground Cover

It can be difficult to find hardy shade ground cover for those difficult areas of the garden that can lie blank and shady, but once you put your imagination cap on you can discover several different varieties that make the perfect ground cover for those shaded areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not all Euphorbias do well in shade but Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’ is an exception. This rapid growing ground cover plant produces amazing dark purple foliage with contrasting lime-green flowers from Spring in to early summer, making this variety an ideal candidate for borders, patio pots or containers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This reliable evergreen shrub is perfect for bringing some colour to shady areas. Also known as the variegated leaf Periwinkle, Vinca major Variegata produces pretty violet-blue flowers from late spring in to summer; a perfect plant for growing anywhere in the garden, even underneath trees.

Products: Lime Marmalade (left), Creme Brulee (middle) and Berry Smoothie (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These charming evergreen clumps of roundish leaves with lobed or scalloped edges come in every colour under the sun. Here we’ve picked out Heuchera Lime Marmalade, Heuchera Creme Brulee and Heuchera Berry Smoothie as our top recommendations for their vibrant hues. Especially when combined with other shade-loving perennials, Heuchera are amazing for ground cover, borders or in front of shrubs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bored of plain foliage? This stunning silver touched deep green foliage that becomes dotted with spikes of pretty white blossoms in spring and early summer. This evergreen shrub is perfect for adding interest to your border displays and in any shaded spot in the garden.

Ferns

Happy to grow in inhospitable spots, many ferns are evergreen, and since they come in a range of shapes and sizes, you are certain to find the perfect fern fit for any shady spot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also known as the Harts Tongue Fern, Asplenium scolopendrium is an evergreen fern with luscious upright green foliage. This hardy evergreen needs little attention in the garden, provides colour all year round and can even be grown in woodland/under trees or shady borders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This small and easy-to-grow fern is the perfect plant for the border or rock garden in full or partial shade. With a mass of golden yellow leaves and striking red stems, this exotic Athyrium Vidalii is guaranteed to provide a dash of unique colouring to even the shadiest parts of the garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a fern full of vibrant colour, the coppery red fronds of this Dryopteris erythrosora is the perfect option for your garden. This gorgeous plant can be planted in the border, patio pots or containers and are very tolerant of most conditions making them the perfect shade partner.

Grasses

Ornamental grasses provide many attractive functions in the garden. They are extremely adaptable, low maintenance, and have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way of creating a relaxing and calming effect in the garden. With their increasing popularity, more options have become available, and numerous lovely grasses are suitable for shade planting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This stunning evergreen perennial grass is the perfect addition for containers or a shady border as these plants thrive whether planted in sun, partial shade or full shade. With Carex testacea ‘Prairie Fire’s’ extraordinarily eye-catching green leaves with bright orange tips, this variety also changes in to a dark orange colour with brown flowers in the summer time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This highly versatile grass variety is ideal for planting in containers, near water features in gravel, in the border or alongside other grasses. With stunning needle-like leaves, Festuca Golden Toupee produces grey-green leaves that turn a bright yellow shade in the spring and thrive in pretty deep shade for bringing stunning vibrant hues of colour to a shaded garden.

Bulbs

It can be difficult to find blooms to rectify an unloved shaded area, however here are a few suggestions for bulbs to brighten up your garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This hardy perennial excels in partial or full shade. With pointed green leaves and slender, soft yellow bells that drop from its branched stems, Uvularia grandiflora makes a great addition to pots, containers and this variety even makes excellent cut flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A smooth cocktail of colours, purple buds opening to apricot, with rose shadings. Geum Mai Tai have fuzzy, dark green pinnate leaves and erect purple stems holding the semi double flowers. These hardy perennial plants will flower all summer from June right through to September and are suitable for partial shaded borders in the garden.

Climbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With giant showy milk-white lace cap type flowers blooming over vigorous glossy green foliage. This fantastic, self-clinging Hydrangea petiolaris is the best climber for a shaded north wall. Very low maintenance needing only an occasional trim, left undisturbed it can grow up to a height and spread of 5m+ but will withstand gentle pruning to any manageable height to suit your garden.

ENJOY PLANTING THIS SPRING!

How to Plant: Cannas

Are you planning your summer garden display and looking for advice on how to plant Cannas? In this handy blog guide, we will share our best knowledge and advice on how to plant Cannas in all areas of gardening from planting, arrangement to aftercare to make your gardening as simple and as easy as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannas Mixed (Image Above)

Cannas are a fantastic addition to any summer garden. They are an excellent perennial that will add plenty of exotic style and colour to your garden displays. Their attractive dark leaf foliage with bright coloured showy flowers. They come in a range of vibrant colours from orange, red, pink and yellow which make great summer bedding as well as a part of your summer borders or patio display.

Planting

Cannas can be planted in April/May at a depth of between 7 and 10cm. They are often best started in pots and then transplanted in borders or beds towards the end of May. The best placement for them is to plant them in a sunny position, preferably out of the wind. Be sure to water during warm weather.

Tips

  • After your cannas settle in to the ground, roots and sprouts will form within a few weeks, or you can start your tubers indoors in a pot for earlier blooms as cannas need heat to keep them growing.

Video

In this gardening tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates the best way to plant Canna corms into pots to achieve an amazing display of colour in the summer.

Aftercare

After planting, water your Cannas generously to settle the soil around the rhizomes. After blooming has finished for the season, leave the foliage in place, do not cut it off. The leaves gather sunlight and provide nourishment for next year’s blooms. Remove leaves when they begin to turn. Your Cannas will rest for a few months before beginning their next cycle of growth in the Spring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannas Mixed (Image Above)

Click here to view our full Cannas range

How to Plant: Dwarf Tulips

Need advice on planting Dwarf Tulip bulbs? We’ve compiled our gardening advice in this informative blog guide on planting, arrangement, and aftercare to help make your gardening job easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulips are one of the most popular Spring bulbs for a reason. Fantastic colours and attractive shapes make them a stunning choice for your garden displays. There are a wide variety of Greigii/Kaufmanniana or dwarf Tulips within our range, from First Price, Little Beauty, Humilis, and Scarlet Baby; all with stunning colourful blooms that would be perfect for any spring border, or even hanging basket, and their spectacular foliage produces year after year whilst requiring minimal care.

Planting

Tulips do not need to be planted until October in to December. Plant bulbs in well dug soil about 8-10cm deep and approx. 15cm apart. It is often beneficial to use a little bonemeal or super phosphate mixed in with the soil. Tulips delight during their growth in a sunny location.

Video

In this video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff talks us through how to plant Dwarf Rockery/Botanical Tulips, with great easy to follow advice on how to achieve a terrific spring rockery display.

Aftercare

After the tulips have bloomed and when leaves fade and turn brown, the bulbs can be lifted, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool place until planting time. This allows the bulb to store more food and produce flowers the following year. Tulips should not be grown in the same soil for several years, so replace with fresh soil every other year.

Click here to view our full Tulip range!

How to Plant: Fritillaria (with Video Tutorial)

Looking for help and advice on planting Fritillaria bulbs? Look no further, we’ve compiled this handy guide full of information on Fritillaria planting, tutorial guide and aftercare advice.

Fritillaria Lutea (Crown Imperial)                 Fritillaria Meleagris

Fritillaria are a stunning accompaniment to any garden display with their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers that are particularly effective when grown in groups, as well as being versatile enough to add charm to rockeries, borders, flowers beds or even on the patio in pots. Our extensive range of Fritillaria includes smaller varieties such as Fritillaria Meleagris, which produce a mixture of white and purple flowers, and taller varieties such as Fritillaria Imperialis and many bi-colour favourites such as Fritillaria Uva-Vulpis and Michailovski.

Our beautiful Fritillaria bulbs flower between April and May in the spring, and our bulb sizes vary between 5cm up to 24cm, with certain varieties growing up to 120cm. They can be planted at 8-10cm deep and 10-15cm apart in well drained/light and moist soil. They can be planted in areas with full sun access or preferably with partial shade, and can be left to naturalise in grass, borders or even cold greenhouses. Fritillaria are very hardy and are an excellent choice for border displays, rockeries or for woodland areas, where their elegant drooping bell-shaped flowers are likely to add that little something different to your garden.

In this simple how-to video tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff shows you how to plant Giant Fritillaria with tips and tricks for getting the best results out of your bulbs!

Aftercare

When established in the right environment you can easily begin to see fritillaria plants multiply. In good growing conditions crown imperials will readily form large clumps. If a well-established colony begins to flower poorly then lifting in early autumn when dormant, thoroughly improving the soil and replanting, or moving to a new site may be enough to restore satisfactory flowering. The bulbs may take a year or two to re-establish.

Click to view our Fritillaria range!

Complete Guide: Summer Bedding Geraniums

There are few things so lovely as enjoying a colourful garden in full bloom during the warmer summer weather. That’s especially true when said garden is the product of your own hard work. Summer is a time to reap the rewards of your labour and finally just sit back, relax and enjoy your surroundings.

If you’re looking for a reliable plant that can really bring that ‘wow factor’ to your summer display, Geraniums are the perfect choice and one of our most popular plants for summer baskets and bedding.

That popularity stems from the wonderful range of colours available at relatively low costs, compared to more expensive pot grown varieties. These summer bedding Geranium (Pelargoniums) are tender young plants, raised from either seeds or cuttings, making them just fantastic value for money.

Versatile Summer Plants

The benefit of incorporating Geraniums into the summer garden is their versatility. Our range can offer solutions for everything from pots and window boxes, to borders or hanging baskets.

We have had many customers send us photos over the years, where they have been growing summer bedding plants in some unique ways such as in wheelbarrows, slippers, wellington boots, old teapots, etc. Get thinking of some other great places and make a statement that few others will be able to boast of and let us know in the comments!

How are Summer Bedding Geraniums supplied?

Pelargoniums, or more commonly known as tender Geranium plants, are not to be confused with the hardy perennial types who share the same name.

Our great range of Geraniums (Pelargoniums) are supplied in one of four ways as follows

Garden Ready Plants – Our new premium range of bedding can be planted straight into their final location in your garden. These large, easy-to-grow plants come in trays of 30 at a height of up to 15cm, with each plug measuring 5cm in width. They will establish fast when planted straight into their final location, and are the best choice for last minute summer colour or novice gardeners.

Maxi plug plants – Our award-winning Maxi plus plants are supplied in trays of 33 or 66. They produce unbeatable value, with a volume per tray of up to 50% more than competitors. They can be potted up for a number of weeks to enable the roots to become even stronger before planting out into their final location.

Rapid plug plants – Trays of 120 young seed raised plants which are fantastic value for money. They are smaller than Maxi plugs but can be potted up in advance of planting outdoors in their final location. All delivered from March, through early May.

Jumbo plug plants – Supplied as large 3cm or 4cm diameter plugs which are ready for planting straight into the border or patio pots. Available in packs of six per variety or in some great money saving collections. Delivery is made from April, through early May.

How to plant Summer Bedding Geranium plants

  1. Your Geranium (Pelargoniums) should be unpacked and allowed to breathe upon arrival. If the weather is dry, give the plugs a little water on arrival and they will be ready to pot up or plant out within 48 hours.
  2. Once ready for potting up we recommend that you use a well-balanced compost mixture, such as John Innes Number 2. It is best to avoid a mixture that is too peaty as this often means the soil can become crusty/dry and thus will repel water.
  3. Make sure the soil is well watered and make a hole deep enough to firmly hold the root ball of the Geranium. Make sure during the late spring and early summer that the plants are kept watered (but take care not to over-water) and if growing in pots, make sure that the pots allow for good drainage. It often can help to raise the pots off ground level to maximise drainage.
  4. Plant in areas with as much light as possible to assist with healthy flower development. Once buds begin to appear you can consider applying a liquid feed once a week, such as a high potash feed. This should help to encourage more colourful flowers.
  5. It is beneficial during the summer months to deadhead the plants to help encourage and improve growth. Remove dead flowers heads to allow for new growth to push through and to keep looking tidy and healthy

Shop Bedding and Basket Geraniums

What about Hardy Geraniums?

Hardy Geraniums are separate from their tender, bedding counterparts. These hardy perennial plants are great as ground cover plants and will flower throughout the summer with bright colours framed by their dark green foliage. In the wild these Geraniums are often found in sand dunes and on rocky slopes so unsurprisingly they dislike overly moist soils and will do better in any well drained moderately fertile soil.

These hardy plants are supplied slightly different, such as first grade loose rooted or larger potted plants, so be sure to check out individual listings for the full information or if in doubt get in touch with us for more advice.

Geranium Ballerina, often called Cranesbill Ballerina, is a fabulous herbaceous perennial that is perfect for ground cover, low border or patio containers. It produces masses of dark green foliage which contrast well with the lovely veined pink flowers. The blooms are great for attracting bees, butterflies and other nectar loving insects.

 

Shop Hardy Geraniums Now

Shop Bedding and Basket Geraniums Now

 

March Plant of the Month – Aubrieta

Aubrieta

To view our full range of Aubrieta, click the link here. http://bit.ly/2D2AepP

Aubrieta-Arabis-Low-Perennial-0004807
Aubretia Cascade Collection

Nothing creates a carpet of colour like an Aubrieta in early spring! These fantastic, very low growing plants range from deepest vibrant shades to the palest almost white hues in a range of violets, purple and pinks.

The traditional single Aubrieta produce dainty four-petalled flowers over mounds of hairy foliage.

Aubrieta

 

They used to be a common sight on rockeries, although rockeries are a less common sight themselves these days. They are very eye-catching trailing over walls and can even be grown in containers and will last right into May.

Named after Claude Aubriet, a French botanical painter they are commonly known as Aubretia. They grow in the wild in Europe and Central Asia.

Planting

POTM-March

Aubrieta are quite happy in most soils and can handle a little shade, but for the best results they like alkaline soils and a position in full sun.

Trim right down after flowering to around half its size and you’ll get a fresh growth of foliage for the summer followed by masses of new flowers in the spring. Apart from that they will happily look after themselves for the rest of the year.

For more tips on planting watch our video tutorial with plant expert Jeff Turner on growing Aubrieta HERE.

Products

Aubrieta Red Cascade

Aubretia-Red-Cascade-Adjusted

Clusters of dainty red-pink single flowers form a strong mat of colour throughout April and May. A fully hardy variety this is such useful and versatile plant in the garden. Fabulous at the front of the border or in rockeries it’s also great for containers. Loves full sun but will tolerate some shading and is an ideal plant for dry, chalky areas. An ideal plant for growing on slopes or up walls. The Royal Horticultural Society has given Red Cascade their Award of Garden Merit. Height 10cm, spread 60cm.

POTM-AGM

 

 

Aubrieta Blue

Aubrieta-Blue

Sweeping clusters of dainty blue-violet single flowers form a strong mat of colour throughout April and May. A fully hardy variety this is such useful and versatile plant in the garden. Fabulous at the front of the border or in rockeries it’s also great for containers. Loves full sun but will tolerate some shading and is an ideal plant for dry, chalky areas. An ideal plant for growing on slopes or up walls. Height 10cm, spread 60cm.

Looking for something a little bit different….?

Double Flowered Aubrieta. If you’re already a dab hand with Aubrieta why not try these lovely new double varieties?

Aubrieta Double Pink

Aubrieta-'Double-Pink'

Lovely lilac-pink double flowers with a dainty yellow centre. A great low maintenance creeping perennial plant that will quickly produce a thick mound of extravagant ground cover. Ideal for rockeries and borders, will also grow well in containers. Although it will tolerate partial shade, Aubrieta is happiest in full sun light in well-drained soils. 3cm diameter jumbo plugs supplied.

 

Aubrieta Blue Beauty

Aubrieta-'Blue-Beauty'

A beautiful vibrant double flowering Aubrieta. This royal blue Aubrieta will spread rapidly, producing a mound of dense ground cover. Ideal for the border, overhanging walls or in rockeries, loved by bees. . Aubrieta is naturally suited to cool climates so is at its best in the spring, it will thrive if you plant it in well-drained sweet (or alkaline) soils in full sun. Try planting with Helianthemum (Sun Rose), another brilliant creeping ground cover plant that will flower in summer when the Aubrieta starts to decline. 3cm plug plants supplied.

Aubrieta Collection

Two double-flowering Aubretia varieties that produce beautiful shades of pink and purple toned ruffled blooms, which includes our Double Pink and Blue Beauty varieties to create a dense carpet of colour.

Companion plants

Aubrieta prefer cooler conditions so will start to look bedraggled as the summer draws in so choose a ground cover plant that will cheerfully follow it and enjoy the warmer weather!

Here’s a selection of some great ground cover plants that like similar conditions to Aubrieta and flower from May.

 

Helianthemum Sun Rose
Helianthemum Sun Rose A hardy shrub like perennial that’s great for rockeries or filling a gap at the front of a border. Flowers May – June.

 

Geranium Cinereum (Jolly Jewel Night)
Geranium Cinereum (image of the Jolly Jewel Night variety) A colorful, compact plant perfect for suppressing weeds. Hardy and disease resistant. Flowers May to September.
Sedum Kamtschaticum
Sedum Kamtschaticum A great rockery creeper, producing a mound of glossy green leaves with star shaped yellow flowers – really good for suppressing weeds. Flowers May – July.
Cerastium (Snow in Summer)
Cerastium (Snow in Summer) A rampant creeping mound of flowers that will grow anywhere – even in very poor soils. Flowers form May to July.