Monday, January 18, 2021

Herbaceous Ornamentals That Need Shade

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Nearly every garden or landscape has a shady spot. Shadows may be cast from overhead branches, nearby buildings, plants, fences or walls and may change with the time of day or year. These areas need not be barren or simply mulch covered but may support a variety of plants.

Shade varies considerably but is generally classified as deep shade (D), medium shade (M) or intermittent shade (I). Deep shade never receives any direct sunlight and is found at the base of the north side of buildings or other structures, under the boughs of needled evergreens or low-branching broadleaf evergreen trees and shrubs. Foliage plants may grow here but few plants flower, if at all.

Areas of medium shade are those under densely branched, deciduous trees in leaf, areas receiving reflected light or on the north side of buildings with unobstructed sky. Most plants will grow in medium shade but not necessarily thrive, and sufficient light is received for flower production on some, like impatiens. Partial or intermittent shade is the dappled sunlight shining through sparsely branched, deciduous trees in leaf, the filtered light of arbors or trellises and areas that are sunlit for part of the day (less than six hours) or only seasonally.

When selecting plants for shady locations, also remember to consider all requirements for good plant growth: soil type and pH, hardiness zone, moisture needs, and possible pests and diseases. Although modification of a site to meet a plant’s needs is possible, greater success is achieved when selected plants and sites are well matched.

Below is a listing of suggested plants for the shade garden. Unless otherwise indicated, plants listed here prefer average, well-drained soils with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5 and are hardy in zone 5. For individual plant characteristics (height, flower color, uses,etc), check the gardening section at the library.

Annuals

  • Begonia x semperflorenscultorum – Wax Begonia – I, M
  • Browallia speciosa – Browallia – I, M
  • Coleus x hybridus – Coleus – I, M (average to dry soils)
  • Cosmos bipinnatus – Cosmos – I (average to dry soils)
  • Digitalis purpurea – Annual Foxglove – I
  • Fragaria vesca – Alpine Strawberry – I
  • Impatiens balsamina – Garden Balsam – I
  • Impatiens wallerana – Impatiens – I, M
  • Lobelia erinus – Lobelia – I
  • Lobularia maritima – Sweet Alyssum – I
  • Lunaria annua – Money Plant – I
  • Lupinus hybrids – Annual Lupines – I
  • Malcomia maritima – Virginia Stock – I
  • Mimulus hybrids – Monkey Flower – I, M (good in wet soils)
  • Nemophila menziesii – Baby-blue-eyes – I
  • Nicotiana alata – Flowering Tobacco – I
  • Nierembergia hippomanica var. violacea – Cupflower – I
  • Oenothera deltoides – Evening Primrose – I
  • Pelargonium x domesticum – Martha Washington Geranium – I (average to dry soils)
  • Reseda odorata – Mignonette – I
  • Rudbeckia hirta ‘Gloriosa’ – Gloriosa Daisy – I (average to dry soils)
  • Thunbergia alata – Black-eyed Susan Vine – I (moist soils)
  • Torenia fournieri – Wishbone Flower – I, M (good in wet soils)
  • Viola x wittrockiana – Pansy – I

Perennials

  • Aconitum spp. – Monkshood – I
  • Adiantum pedatum – Northern Maidenhair Fern – M
  • Aegopodium podagraris – Goutweed – I, M (may be invasive)
  • Ajuga reptans – Bugleweed – I, M
  • Alchemilla vulgaris – Lady’s Mantle – I
  • Anchusa azurea – Italian Bugloss – I
  • Anemone spp. – Anemone – I (rich soils)
  • Aquilegia spp. and hybrids – Columbine – I
  • Aruncus dioicus – Goatsbeard – I
  • Asarum europaeum – European Wild Ginger – I, M (rich soils)
  • Aspelnium platyneuron – Ebony Spleenwort – M, D (alkaline soils)
  • Asplenium trichomanes – Maidenhair Spleenwort – M, D (alkaline soils)
  • Astilbe spp. – Astilbe – I, M (rich soils)
  • Athyrium spp. – Lady Fern, Japanese Painted Fern – I, M (moist to wet soils)
  • Bergenia spp. and hybrids – Bergenia – I
  • Botrychium spp. – Grape Fern – I (neutral soils)
  • Brunnera macrophylla – Siberian Bugloss – I, M (rich soils)
  • Campanula spp. – Bellflower – I
  • Camptosorus rhizophyllus – Walking Fern – I (alkaline, wet soils)
  • Cheilanthes spp. – Lip Fern, Lace Fern – M (dry to moist soils)
  • Chelone lyonii – Turtlehead – I (moist soils)
  • Chrysogonum virginianum – Goldstar – I
  • Cimicifuga racemosa – Black Cohosh – I
  • Cimicifuga simplex – Bugbane – I
  • Convallaria majalis – Lily-of-the-Valley – I, M, D
  • Cryptogramma crispa – American Rock Brake – I
  • Cystopteris spp. – Bladder Ferns – M (dry to moist soils)
  • Dennstaedtia punctilobula – Hay-Scented Fern – I
  • Dicentra spp. – Bleeding Heart – I, M
  • Digitalis spp – Foxglove – I
  • Disporum lanuginosum – Fairy-Bells – I, M (dry soils)
  • Doronicum cordatum – Leopard’s Bane – I
  • Dryopteris spp. – Ferns – I, M, D
  • Epimedium spp. – Epimedium – I, M
  • Equisetum spp. – Horsetails – I (neutral, moist to wet soils)
  • Filipendula spp. – Dropwort – I, M (wet soils)
  • Galium odoratum – Sweet Woodruff – M, D
  • Geranium spp. – Cranesbill – I
  • Helleborus spp. – Hellebore – I (neutral to alkaline soils)
  • Hosta spp. – Hosta – I, M, D
  • Heuchera sanguinea – Coralbells – I
  • Ligularia spp. – Ragwort – I, M (rich, wet soils)
  • Liriope spicata – Creeping Lilyturf – I
  • Lobelia cardinalis – Cardinal Flower – I
  • Lysimachia punctata – Loosestrife – M, D (moist to wet soils)
  • Marsilea quadrifolia – Water Clover Fern – I (wet soils)
  • Matteuccia struthiopteris – Ostrich Fern – I, M, D (moist to wet soils)
  • Mertensia virginica – Virginia Bluebells – I, M
  • Onoclea sensibilis – Sensitive Fern – I (neutral, wet soils)
  • Osmunda cinnamomea -Cinnamon Fern – D (moist to wet soil)
  • Pellaea spp. – Brakes – M (alkaline to neutral, moist to wet soils)
  • Phyllitis scolopendrium – Hart’s-tongue – D (alkaline soils)
  • Physostegia virginiana – Obedience Plant – I
  • Polemonium caeruleum – Jacob’s-ladder – I
  • Polygonatum spp. – Solomon’s Seal – I, M, D
  • Polygonum capitatum – Knotweed – I
  • Polypodium glycyrrhiza – Licorice Fern – M
  • Polypodium vulgare – Common Polypody – M
  • Polystichum acrostichoides – Christmas Fern – D
  • Primula spp. – Primrose – I (rich soils)
  • Pteridium aquilinum – Bracken Fern – I
  • Pulmonaria angustifolia – Lungwort – I, M
  • Smilacina racemosa – False Solomon’s Seal – I, M
  • Thalictrum spp. – Meadow Rue – I
  • Tricyrtis hirta – Toad Lily – I
  • Woodsia spp. – Woodsia – I (moist to wet soils)

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