Best Hellebore for Chicagoland

prairiegirlz5April 23, 2010

Hi. I'm looking for pla*nts to group under my Norway Maple, in a slightly amended, lightly mulched clay soil. I have a little shrub grouping of black chokeberries, with a few hostas along the steeping stones. I have spaces between the shrubs for planting. I plan to water these all summer, so they are well established before winter, but need pla*nts that will tolerate dry shade eventually.

I have planned for lamium and epimedium, with hellebores taking center-stage. Should I rethink my choice, or are there some that will thrive in these conditions? The nursery I go to swears they are great here. I need some encouragement and advice from a neutral source! Thanks. :)

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alina_1

Norway Maple will kill almost anything around. Too shallow and too dense roots. I have Epimediums and rhizomatous geranium under my Amur Maple which is much less agressive than Norway. Even these tough and dry shade tolerant plants are shy there. I would not risk planting Hellebores within a drip line of a Norway Maple.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 1:38AM
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Lgkovalcik(z7 AL)

Hey Prairiegirl,

Why not give it a try? I have hellebores naturalizing ON the roots of my trees! Start with seedlings and they will grow anywhere. Send me your address and I'll send you a box of babies to get you started.

Laura

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 8:36AM
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prairiegirlz5

Laura~You are too kind. Thanks again for the offer.

alina~Maybe I should be looking for a rhizomatous geranium instead. I don't need aggressive growers, just a spot or two of color by the path.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 12:58PM
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alina_1

You can try with the seedlings of course, but be careful with expensive mature plants - you can loose them easily...
I had a horrible experience with Maples. Norway and Sugar are especially bad. For this reason, we removed an old Norway from our backyard - it covered 1/3 of the yard. Even grass and weeds did not grow under it. Our Amur maple is a little easier. I am trying to plant Lamium 'Purple Dragon' under it in addition to Epimediums and Geranium. I keep a back up Lamium in another place though ;)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 4:34PM
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prairiegirlz5

I have to live with the Norway for now, it is next to our raised deck, and there is a lower deck over most of the roots, accessible by stairs. This grouping I'm working on is between the lower deck and the north-facing fence, and then that bed narrows into a long border to the west, along the fenced-in yard. The shrubs act as a screen, so that one side of the rectangular yard is more secluded from the busier side to the east.

alina~I have a couple smaller lamium to try before I move my big, pretty specimen, though it is pretty tough. I have not tried the epimedium yet.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 9:32PM
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