what to grow in shade?

lannij(8)June 15, 2012

hello all. i am a rookie landscaper just learning how to populate our yard, which is a mixture of sun and shade just a little under .25 acres and terraced on a hillside. i'm trying to plant an edible/useable landscape (ex: lavendar and blueberries), but there is one blank spot that has me flummoxed.

it's a flat terrace (approx 25' north/south x 15' east/west) on the shady side of our yard. it's bordered on the east by tall cedars and fir, on the south by tall firs, and on the west by a tall building, so the terrace gets virtually no sun. it is also the bottom terrace so it's very wet and grows an abundance of weeds.

i do not know what to do with this space. my local nursery suggests plants to just take up space, but i want the space to be productive, in some fashion. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



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If you can improve drainage in the area, try native huckleberries. Both the evergreen (Vaccinium ovatum) and deciduous (Vaccinium parvifolium) are woodsy, shade plants. You could also grow ferns for fiddleheads - ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) and cinnamon or royal fern (Osmunda cinnemomea or O. regalis) produce edible shoots.

These will all be happy in moist - but not wet or saturated - soils.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 3:44PM
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Here's a post I created earlier this year on the same topic. I have a mostly shady yard and with a bunch of natives (mostly edibles like berries), and this post lists how well they can do in shade. You'll want to scroll down to the bottom for the updated list. Lots of good advice from others on that thread too.


Here is a link that might be useful: Shade thread

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 7:12PM
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thank you to gardengal48 and mooserider for your very helpful suggestions! i knew someone on here would know what to do. i'm going with berry bushes (huckleberry and salmonberry with some ferns (love ferns). now i'm on the hunt for a nursery in my area (snohomish) that carries native plants.
thank you, again! lanni

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:48AM
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Attend the free plant swap called Green Elephant in Redmond 1st Sat of November & you might pick up some native berry shrubs. Info gets posted ahead of time on this forum or the Pacific Northwest Garden exchange.

Plus fall plantings don't need regular watering because it rains then.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2012 at 5:05PM
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