Flowering Shrub for Shade?

shaolin(z5 NY)April 28, 2007

So I'm trying to cover up a six foot privacy fence on the north side of my house. Deciduous trees are overhead, so there is some early spring sun, but mainly it's shady and dry. For a brief moment I was thinking about covering the fence in ivy, but I came to my senses fairly quickly. So now I'm thinking some nice, big, flowering shrubs. Hydrangea is a possibility but I think it's too shady for Oakleaf or Peegee to be really happy there, and macrophyllas don't really get very tall. I could also go with a nice dense evergreen type shrub - a pretty backdrop for a bigger flower bed. But either way, I'm drawing a blank on a 6-8' shrub that likes the shade around here. Any suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks in advance!

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philomena(z 5A NY)

there's always holly - takes a while to get going, but once it does, it grows well, even to the point of taking over, depending on the variety. There no real significant bloom, but it sure looks pretty, especially in the winter. Also, there are some rhodies that get very large - don't know any of the variety name, though.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 3:33PM
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corapegia(z5 NY)

How about climbing hydrangea? It does bloom but I don't know if it needs some sun to do so. It can be pruned to any height (I will try to take a photo of one in a garden I take care of, it covers the entire end of the house and blooms magnificently.) I'm working on getting one to grow up the trunk of a maple with not low branches.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 8:26AM
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shaolin(z5 NY)

Both great suggestions, thanks! The only drawback on both of them is that they are slow growers - but I suppose if I can't be patient with my garden, I shouldn't be a gardener!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 5:28PM
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philomena(z 5A NY)

as far as I can tell, there's little that grows very fast in the shade, with the exception of certain groundcovers - but it's all certainly worth the wait :-)

one note - if you do decide to pursue the holly, do not get any China Girl or China Boy varieties - those are very common in the garden centers, and also one of the few varieties that deer will eat !!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 11:07PM
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shaolin(z5 NY)

Ah, but see, that's the beauty of my six foot fence (and two big dogs)! I haven't seen a deer in my yard for over a year!!! I can't tell you what it's like to have a whole acre where I can plop any plant I want anyplace I want and not wake up to see it eaten to the ground the next morning!

Anyone have anything to say about Virginia Creeper on a fence?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 11:35PM
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philomena(z 5A NY)

yup - very, very aggressive to the point of invasive. Unless you REALLY like Virginia Creeper, I would go for someting else - it would soon be creeping out anywhere - at least that's my experience with it. It grows wild in the area I am in.

Your whole place is fenced ? sigh.... a world without the antlered rats... I can hardly imagine it ! very jealous ..:-))

    Bookmark   May 2, 2007 at 7:20AM
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For a quick coverup, you can seed some nasturtiums to sprawl over everything until the slower, more permanent growers fill in. The nasturtiums are an annual, so will die back as quickly as they covered. Be sure you are not getting the compact variety - you want the vines.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 7:58AM
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shaolin(z5 NY)

Yes - all of the sudden I am planting in pest free (well, at least the 4 footed, antlered kind) paradise! It's not the prettiest fence in the world (basic stockade) but every time I stick a rose (gasp) into the ground or look at the multitudes of tulips (double gasp) growing around the house - I praise the ugly fence!

Not that I don't want to cover it up, though...

Will nasturiums take dry shade? I thought they were basically sun lovers? I did buy a fairly big schizophragma (Japanese climbing hydrangea) over the weekend, and I saw some non invasive clumping bamboo at Walkill farms that I think I'm going to spring for. Right now it looks like scorched earth, but I am determined that there will be a little North side shade garden paradise out my kitchen window! Thanks for all the suggestions!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 12:36PM
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