Shade tolerant perennials from seed.

token28001(zone7b NC)June 10, 2010

I need suggestions for perennials that can be grown from seed for a sloped bank along the street. Low maintenance. Right now, the area is inundated with violets and periwinkle. I'd like to keep some of that and just plant in between, so they need to be tough plants. The area receives very little sun as there is a large oak tree that shades the hill most of the day. It's a steep bank, about 5' drop over 10' or so, about 45 degrees. Hosta may do okay there and I plan to divide some of mine for the area this fall as they begin to die down. Ferns can also be moved. What would go well with these plants?

In spring, there are daffodils that pop up and violets. Once the tree leafs out, the sunlight is dappled.

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I was thinking - ajuga for a low hugging groundcover. How about bugloss or bugbane for the perennial or daylilies which do well in shade too. Ornamental grass Hakonechloa.

Astilbes are very hardy. What about wintergreen euonymous, cotoneaster or maybe ostrich ferns, japanese anemone, maybe alliums purple sensation...

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 2:35PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Wow. I like that Hakonechloa grass. Haven't heard of that one. I also have cotoneaster planted at one end of the hill. It gets a little more sun than this spot. I planted it last fall so I'm still trying to decide if it likes the space.

I really need some astilbes in my yard. I had seed this past year but nothing sprouted.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 2:43PM
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Ohh dear...

I didn't notice that you had asked for plants that can be grown from seeds. Most of what I mentioned are from cuttings or established plantings or from divisions.

Hakonechloa is a wonderful golden grass and will cover a side very well. But I think it's propagated by runners or division. Let me look around a bit to see what else can suit your area. Perhaps instead of limiting yourself to plants from seeds, you should explore plants that can be obtained through cuttings. Which by the way, you should think of the annabelle hydrangea - easily grown from cuttings.

Astilbes can grow from seeds. some sprouted in my yard.

Foxgloves do well too but it's poisonous so be careful

Japanese painted fern can also grow from spores easily.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:03PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

I have some hydrangeas already, but I don't want anything too large out there. I've got a row of gardenia cuttings that were rooted last summer along the top of the slope. I'm trying to form a room of sorts for the front yard using the gardenias as a hedge. I'll be rooting more in a few weeks as soon as they've stopped blooming. I guess I could mix in some hydrangeas there too.

Foxglove, hadn't thought of that. And my seeds are just starting to ripen. :)

I've got Japanese painted ferns on the north side of the house. I can divide those next spring.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:11PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

If those trees are deciduous, think about some nice spring bulbs from seed. Musculari come to mind. Easy!
Corydalis may work well for you
Bleeding Hearts (exemia would work best on a hillside, I bet)
Epemediums (if you can find seeds for it)
Hostas of course
Rodea if you can find the seeds. I should go check on mine! I may have some ripe.
Trycertis (in the more moist spots)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 3:13PM
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Sweet Sakura(z7VA)

How about hellebores? They can be grown from seed, though they take a few years to reach any size.

I'll second the fringed bleeding hearts (Dicentra exemia, not the old-fashioned spectabilis that goes dormant in the summer) and add polemonium - Jacob's ladder. Both have pretty foliage.


    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 4:05PM
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coral bells
oakleaf hydrangea (but too hard to do cuttings)
solomon seal (divisions)
brunera (they do reseed well)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 4:27PM
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Do brunnera really reseed? I've been meaning to deadhead mine, but I'd love to have some more...

Columbine would be another idea that I don't think anyone has mentioned.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 9:54PM
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they do. Mine did. I do deadhead mine too but some seeds have managed to germinate nevertheless. It's nice a give-away plant.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 10:07PM
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lisa33(6b Bucks County PA)

I'll tell ya that my Jacob's Ladder reseeds like crazy. A couple of ideas that I think no one has mentioned are sweet woodruff and celandine poppy. I don't know how tough pulmonaria is, but it's a pretty little shade plant. Maybe some lunaria annua (Honesty/Money plant)? It seems to do ok in some shadier spots in my yard. It's a biennial, but self seeds readily.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2010 at 10:38PM
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sprout_wi(z4 WI)

Something rather than starting seed might be to get a plant that reproduces via underground roots, like Lily of the Valley?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 12:18AM
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kiskin(5/6 in EU)

How about some silver-leaved Lamiums? They light up shade beds and contrast nicely with hostas and are ridiculously easy to propagate.

Lamium maculatum "Beacon Silver" has purple and "White Nancy" white flowers.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 4:12AM
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I was surprised that my one Rabdosia longituba that I purchased from PDN seeded around like crazy in my shade garden, so if you can locate the seeds, this would be an excellent plant to try.

Euphorbia dulcis 'Chameleon' easily reseeds.

Columbine, of course.

Hardy begonias (Begonia grandis) can spread by seeds, but most often spreads by bulbils that drop from an existing plant.

Chasmanthium latifolia can reseed with abandon.

Corydalis 'Blackberry Wine' is one of my favorite new perennials and it seeds around to form lovely colonies. The plants themselves are rather short-lived and will often go dormant in the heat of the summer, but I think this is a great plant because of its adaptability and ease of culture.

Geranium phaeum (mourning widow geranium).



Phlox divaricata.

Stylophorum diphyllum (Celadine poppies).

Bulbs that often spread by seed for me: Galanthus, Scilla siberica, Scilla hispanica, Ipheion.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 9:44AM
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newbiehavinfun(7a - Southern NJ)

About hakonechloa: I LOVE it! It really lights up a shady area. However, it is a very very slow grower. I'm still waiting for that LEAP that perennials are supposed to have.

What about spiderwort? It's tough. I'm laughing because I'm picturing you planting a bunch of bullies and then they fight it out, like a middle school playground. The lily of the valley teases the periwinkle, then the ajuga smacks the violets around.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:12AM
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Ianna suggested coral bells, and they do just great from seed - really easy. The purple palace looks great with sum and substance nearby. They won't fight off periwinkle though, you'd have to help it out.

I can't get Canadian Columbine to germinate for me even winter sowing, but it's so gorgeous I think I'll keep trying. There is a link here on one of the garden web forums for germinating hellebores.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 10:47PM
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if you're willing to go the 'divide and plant' route, I've seen shady hillsides planted with Liriope too - another grassy foliage plant that spreads (albeit not terribly fast) and it stays relatively evergreen for me.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 12:11PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Joy, my canadian columbine re-seeds abundantly. Now's the time to scatter some seeds where you want them. I push them in with my finger or scruff up the soil, scatter and lightly stomp on it. I will have TONS of seedlings this way. It's the dark blue I can't get going here for some reason now :)

Do you need more seeds?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 1:44PM
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