what grows well in the shade under rhododendrons?

westover(Portland OR)April 30, 2009

I've been thinking about the bare ground under my large rhododendrons -- under their north side, that is, where the shade is rather deep. One epimedium plant seems to do okay, but there's nothing else except a few half-hearted weeds. I wonder what plants (if any) have worked well for others under rhododendrons.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Similar low woodland or forest carpeters. Maybe try Viola sempervirens, I've seen that in large bare areas under Thuja plicata - and it's a cute plant.

The shrubs won't like much digging into their roots, nor will they want to be buried with a new layer of soil.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 5:04PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I have ferns, hostas, ajuga, and dicentras combined with my rhodies.

I plant from 4" pots to reduce root disturbance.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 5:29PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

Hardy Cyclamen looks good for me.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:46AM
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    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 1:40AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I have a lovely patch of Lily of the Valley under part of one of mine, denigrated in another thread but a lovely, tenacious and weedfree running plant. Wintergreen can be a lovely quality groundcover, and has flowers and fruit. Some other very successful dry shade plants for me are hardy geraniums such as microrrhizum, and groundcover comfrey, Symphytum ibericum/ grandiflorum, which has the ability to suppress weeds, even grasses. If you plant it you probably will never get rid of it.:-) It is blooming now.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 7:25AM
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jwr6404(8B Wa)

We grow a large Turkish Squash,called Adapazari Squash.You can read about it on the GardenWeb/Heirloom Forum. The leaves are Large Dark and Beautiful. It gets 20-30 ft in length and we weaveg it in and around Rhodies and other Plants. At the end of the year you will have one large Squash per plant. My biggest last year was 54 lbs. If anyone interested i have plenty of seeds I could send for free and no Postage necessary.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 3:40PM
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Wintergreen! (Gaultheria procumbens) Great berries.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 12:25AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

If you'd like some Lily of the Valley you are welcome to visit me and dig some up. FREE. ;) ;) ;)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:12AM
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Abkhazi garden in Victoria has half a garden under mature rhodos. Arisaema, geranium, podophyllum, cyclamen, viola, erythronium, uvularia, polygonatum, dicentra... the list is endless. Forest understory perennials is what you want.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 10:22PM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Cornus canadensis has crept under my large old rhodie and is very sweet.

I also have English bluebells under another, planted by the previous owner. They aren't my favorite because they self-seed and even small ones are almost impossible to pull, but they look great when they bloom at the same time as the pink rhodie. I am trying to remember to rip them out, foliage and all, before they go to seed and hope to control the spreading somewhat that way. Other than that, they are absolutely zero care.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 5:29PM
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If you go up to the Seattle area, stop on your way at the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden in Federal Way. They've got 22 acres of rhodies underplanted with more things than I can enumerate.
I recently acquired some Beesia, an evergreen groundcover with little white flowers. It looks a lot like Asarum. I'm also a huge fan of hardy cyclamen.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 10:56AM
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