Shade and drought tolerant - plus summer color?

ljagla(z5 Chicago)May 23, 2003

After recent landscaping work, our city front yard has a large new space for color. The down side is that a lovely maple sucks up all the summer moisture. We have tulip bulbs for spring and last summer I put annuals over them. Although impatiens flourished elsewhere in our shady garden, they looked pathetic in this space last summer, despite my loyal watering. They were also difficult to plant because of the tree's roots. Suggestions for a colorful PERENNIAL that is drought- and shade-tolerant?

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I'm in zone 9b/10 so I'm not sure if these will take your zone. Almost everything I grow has to be drought-tolerant.

Perennials I have in shade:
geraniums, coral bells, penstemon, vinca, orchids,

I find most roses are drought-tolerant once established. The old garden type roses are very hardy and some are shade-tolerant. Climbers can be used as large bushes. Climbers that I have in partial sun/shade: buff beauty, Mademoiselle Alfred Carriere, Blush noisettes (all noisettes can take some shade) and Dr. W. Van Fleet. Other roses (not hybrid tea roses) that I have in partial shade: Rosarie de l'hay, Reine des violettes, souvenir de la malmaison, gruss an aachen.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2003 at 4:44PM
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warhawk_grad(z4a WI)

If roots are a problem, maybe some hanging baskets would do the trick? And while the flowers aren't usually anything special, the wide varities of hostas might offer nice color and texture choices. See the Hosta forum for some ideas.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2003 at 6:01PM
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Flower_Slut(z5/4USDA Ottawa)

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) do well in my dry shade, and I know there are lots of cultivars with different colours and bloom times. Also mallow (Malva spp.) bloom happily, and it's probably worth trying campanula carpatica. Oh, and my heart-leaved aster is quite happy. This year I planted tradescantia (spiderwort), which my source tells me is happy anywhere - we shall see. I've also planted nicotiana - again, we shall see. Other no-so-colourful stuff that's happy is lily-of-the-valley, wild strawberries and, oddly, festuca glauca (blue fescue), which is supposed to like lots of sun. On the edge of the shade area I've got creeping speedwell, which is currently blooming quite prettily, and some pansies, which are blooming now but won't be happy when it gets hot.

Also fritillaria meleagris is nice along with the tulips (I've got purple and white tulips, nice with the mixed purple and white fritillaria).

Hope this is helpful.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 10:06AM
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Bullnettle(z8b TX)

Salvia coccinea is a dry shade bloomer here in Texas; it's an annual, but reseeds itself well. I have a number of other shade plants that are colorful, but doubt they'd do well in your zone. Native columbines might do well for you; the Texas natives do well for me in dry shade.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2003 at 8:06PM
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ljagla(z5 Chicago)

Thanks for your suggestions. Now to go shopping........

    Bookmark   May 30, 2003 at 11:26AM
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Be careful of lily of the valley - it's cute but will get into garden beds and drive you crazy unlewss there is a LOT of room between this spot and your borders.

I don't find daylilies bloom very well w.o. some sun.

There are pretty ajugas now and they bloom and have nice bronzy or ruby leaves and do well in dry shade. Also foam flower. None of these are long bloomers but have nice leaf textures.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2003 at 11:19PM
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Flower_Slut(z5/4USDA Ottawa)

And whatever you do, don't plant bishop's weed, aka goutweed, often recommended for dry shade. Evil evil evil. It's like deliberately planting bindweed - you'll never have anything else. They were selling it at my local (reputable!) garden centre, at $10.99 a pot. Clearly they're Satan's little helpers.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2003 at 9:09AM
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teri2(7B TN)

I really can't think of anything that will coexist with tree roots (I'm oh, so familiar with that situation) AND provide summer bloom. Most things are short bloomers like Ajuga and Epimedium. But how about using a ground cover like those and adding some strategically placed pots of bloomers?


    Bookmark   June 3, 2003 at 3:48PM
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How high is the maple tree limbed-up?
I have the old fashioned iris growing at the base of my good-sized tulip tree. It's doing very well there ,and blooms nicely.The newer varieties may not do so well.
I believe it (the tree) is quite a water-guzzler ,too ,since the grass dries out around it in a dry summer.
I also have vinca with the iris.It's not spreading ..just staying by the tree. (I mow around it)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2003 at 4:25PM
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The pot thing is a good idea - if you have nice ground cover like vinca, then you can have pots for color and rotate things in and out. I do this in shady garden spots which are having a down time and it's successful - and making planters is fun

NO NO NO to bishop's weed!!! At a farmer's market last Sat somebody was selling big pots of it and an unwary new gardener was considering it. I spoke up and I don't think the seller was happy with me but PULEEZ!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2003 at 10:06PM
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Flower_Slut(z5/4USDA Ottawa)

I'd like to add that my earlier suggestions (daylilies, mallow, campanula, aster etc) are all planted amongst tree roots. I just keep adding compost - spring and fall - in large quantities, because this is all the front yard I have. This may not be a possibility for you, but it does work. Oh, and I forgot, though someone else mentioned it - columbine is another excellent choice - I have aquilegia canadensis.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 9:25AM
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shadeeladee(z5 KS)

Nearly all of my garden is planted among tree roots. Think of plants that naturally cope with tree roots and that will help you. The big question is how much shade do you have. If you have fairly deep shade with no direct sun, consider Japanese anenome, Columbine as Flower Slut mentioned, astilbe (though it will need more nutrients there), ligularia, or some types of hardy geranium.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2003 at 4:45PM
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You might check out pulmonaria, primrose, dead nettle, bluebells, ming toy daylily, purple dome asters if it gets at least dappled shade is just stunning, scarlet sage,hellebores, toad lillies, corydalis,indian pinks,crown imperial can take partial shade, jack-in-the pulpit.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2003 at 12:49AM
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loniesmom(z5 (6?) NE OH)

yes, lamium (dead nettle) has several varieties and presents a pretty variegation (semi-evergreen for me) even if it's not in bloom. Ajuga will prefer some moisture. Not sure if the jack-in-the-pulpit is a good idea; they like REALLY loose soil and don't take kindly to transplanting, plus their bloom time is SO short. Creeping phlox?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2003 at 3:47PM
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And don't, whatever you do, plant mint.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2003 at 2:21AM
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Cybersunday(z5 ca)

I have a toad lily in a clayish soil and it is doing quite well, ferns, hostas are a good bet too, astilbe will grow but not as well

    Bookmark   June 25, 2003 at 7:20AM
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stripedone(2/3 SW ALBERTA)

Compost, compost, compost.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2003 at 11:31PM
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joannd_CNY(z5 NY)

Lamium is very tough, and can be colorful. There is a purple-blooming variety with silver variegated leaves that looks very nice. I too have dry shade and am trying to fill it up. Lamium was the first thing I put in there. I've also heard that heucherellas are very good for this type of situation. (A cross between heucheras and tiarellas.)

Other plants that I've heard recommended:
-bugloss (I think it's also called "Siberian Forget-Me-Nots)
-geranium macorrhizum (not the prettiest geranium I've seen)
-lily of the valley is doing well in my dry shade

If you look for variegated versions of these plants, they may provide more splash.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2003 at 2:17PM
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Sure, iliy of the valley will work, but it is worse than Bishop's Weed if it gets into beds, as you absolutely cannot pull it out and it spreads into even the roots of other perennials. Only use it if it is far, far away from borders and beds. I've said this before!!

My ajuga does quite nicely in these conditions and their are lamiuns which are VERY attractive. I have a varigated leaf variety with pale yellow flowers, as well as a couple of others w. purple and w. pink.

Yup, epimdeiums also work well for me too. But they don't cover as much space for a while (at least in my spots.)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2003 at 3:25PM
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What about Lysimachia? There's Firecracker (deep purple leaves with bright small yellow flowers that look like they're popping out of the plant. This one is doing well in a shaded garden with dry soil. I don't usually mulch, but did so with these, which helps. I do not consider it a 'bully', and when it goes beyond it's limits, just pull out the new shoot, and cut back to the mama plant.
I am also trying Eupatoriums - Chocolate and the regular Joe Pye.
These gardens are surrounded by boulders coming out of the ground, and the front boulders get sun for a couple of hours. Since they absorb heat, the ground dries-up quickly, yet the gardens behind the boulders are in shade...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 10:34AM
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I garden in southeastern Pennsylvania in a mostly shady garden. There are two large maples that dominate my front garden but two tenacious low growers are content growing in their dry, root filled shade. The first is the non stop bloomer corydalis lutea. The second is tinantia pringleii, also a nonstop bloomer. Both reseed vigorously but are easy to remove. As a bonus, Lutea and Tinantia look quite nice together.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 10:18PM
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