Plant Suggestions for Difficult Spot

Katie Metz de MartínezJanuary 3, 2014

I have a small section of my garden where the soil remains very moist throughout the winter and early spring (no standing water but the soil never dries out completely). During this time of year, this spot is in bright shade. In the summer and fall, the soil becomes quite dry in this area and it receives part sun (late morning/early afternoon). At present, the only flower I have growing in this spot is forget-me-not, which grows prolifically (and reseeds like there's no tomorrow). Can anyone suggest other plants that might like these conditions?

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Can't guarantee it will thrive since you're located at the high end of its temperature zone but Chelone obliqua/turtlehead does well where I am in part sun. According to one of my books (Perennials for Every Purpose), some types of iris also do well in moist soil. The book also mentions Calamagrostis/reed grass with zone hardiness to Z9.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:20PM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Great suggestion, gardenweed. Hola la yanqui, another plant that you might wish to add is salvia.

There is a famous salvia expert in your country, a professor of agronomy at UBA, who grows hundreds of salvias for his research. His first name is Rolando and below is a link to a gardenweb thread where he gives his contact info. If you are interested you could ask him for a recommendation. He might possibly be able to mail you seeds for a plant that would do well in that area, that has many blooms and a long bloom season, and a color to go with gardenweed's suggestion.

On the link below see RolandoâÂÂs post on Sep 27, 13 with his e-mail address and the url to his beautiful website. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: GW thread: red salvia id

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:18PM
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Katie Metz de Martínez

Hi, gardenweed. Thanks for your suggestions. Turtlehead sounds like a good possibility. I see that it likes moist soil, but do you think it could handle the drier summertime conditions that I have in that spot? I'll look into the possibility of irises too. I can get those at local nurseries, whereas it would be more difficult to get my hands on the C. obliqua seed.

River_crossroads, thanks for the info about salvia. I was already considering adding Salvia patens âÂÂBlue Angelâ (Gentian Sage) or Salvia farinacea âÂÂVictoria Blueâ to my garden in a different spot, but I hadn't considered it for this problem area. Just yesterday I was looking at a blog that lists flowers that are native to the province of Buenos Aires, and I saw Salvia guaranitica, which I find really attractive. I don't have a seed/plant source for that one though. I live in a small city on the coast, and the choices available at nurseries here are quite limited. Plus, shopping online for plants and seeds isn't really an option here like it is in the US. I'm going to check in with Rolando though and see if he has any advice for me. His site is great. Thank you for the tip!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 8:55PM
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ya_lanqui - C. obliqua/turtlehead grows well where I am with zero supplemental water--I don't do anything to (or for) it throughout the growing season. Mine is a 'thrive on neglect' sort of perennial garden and aside from any particular growing needs (i.e., annual pruning), plants must perform with minimal assistance from me. Generally speaking, well-established perennials will thrive with little help from the gardener so long as they're growing in healthy soil.

I can harvest C. obliqua seeds from my plants and would be more than pleased to mail them to you in exchange for the cost of postage. You are also welcome to Siberian iris seeds harvested earlier this year from my own seed-grown plants.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 10:11AM
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Katie Metz de Martínez

Hi, gardenweed. Well, turtlehead sounds like the perfect plant for that spot. I would love for you to send me some seed. Thank you so much for offering. Please let me know how to get in touch with you privately, and I'll send you my information.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 11:33AM
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Hi la_yanqui. First let me apologize for misspelling your ID earlier today--I evidently had a senior moment!

I'm sending you an email so we can discuss the turtlehead seeds. I harvested them this morning and they are currently drying (it was pouring rain when I harvested them) on a paper plate inside my home.

According to my spreadsheet, the seeds require cold stratification in order to germinate. Here's the information I found on the Tom Clothier database:

Chelone glabra, lyonii, and obliqua , Sow at 20úC (68úF), if no germination in 3-4 wks, move to -4 to +4úC (24-39úF) for 2-4 wks

Lacking sufficient cold weather where you are, it may be necessary to refrigerate the seeds for the recommended number of weeks. Where I am, outdoor winter cold temps are not an issue.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 8:06PM
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Katie Metz de Martínez

Please don't worry about that. No harm, no foul!

Thank you again for harvesting the seeds for me. I'll probably try to direct seed some of what you send in the fall (which would be March for me), and if they don't germinate, I'll go the cold stratification route. I usually have good luck sowing perennials in the fall.

I did receive your email, but it says your email address is hidden and therefore I can't reply. Can you send another message that includes your email address? Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2014 at 9:25PM
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