Full Shade Zone 5

joyful_growerFebruary 28, 2007

What type of perennials and shrubs to plant in a full shade area. The back of my home faces north, so if it gets sun it gets it before I'm even up! I have planted a fern, does fine, some hostas, okay, but I need some ideas. I've planted trillium there, didn't flower this year. Coral bells, didn't die, but didn't do much else either. Help! Thanks.

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WhtRos(USDA z5a IL)

This is what is doing well for me between my house and the neighbors.
They are close together so get very little sun, if any.
I love the foliage on both of these:
Aruncus (GoatÂs Beard)
Cimicifuga racemosa (Bugbane) I have 'atropurpurea.' purple-leaved variety
Chelone (Pink Turtlehead)
Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley)
Epimedium sulphueum
Filipendula umaria (Meadowsweet) I have 'Variegata'
Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'
Mertensia virginica (Virginia Bluebells) very showy in spring but die back in July so are good between hosta
Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
Polygonatum odoratum (Solomon's Seal)
Asperula odorata (Sweet Woodruff)
Tiarella (Foamflower)
Tricytis (Toad Lily)
Most of these won't tolerate dry shade.
I hope someone suggests some shrubs. I haven't had any luck with any so far.
Best Wishes, Barbara.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 11:27PM
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Asarum canadense is a good groundcover for full shade. For shrubs, try Hydrangea quercifolia (fall color might not be that great), Clethra alnifolia, Ilex, the Viburnums, a variegated shrubby dogwood (alba, racemosa, sanguinea), Itea, Yew. Smilacina racemosa is an elegant, tall spring-bloomer, with red fall berries and yellow fall foliage.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 1:45PM
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lisa2004(NY Z5/6)

I've had good luck with Oakleaf Hydrangeas. Some of them are pretty large shrubs. I've been told that the Oakleafs tolerate the most shade. Also, toad lillys are great in large groups and bloom in total shade in my garden. Brunneras have pretty leaves and in the spring they have blue flowers like forget-me-nots. I think they can tolerate dry conditions. Unfortunately, my shade is VERY dry (which I made even worse by planting in pure compost...it holds no water), so I'm out with the hose almost everyday.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 8:44PM
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Thank you for your suggestions! I have sandy soil and a sprinkling system, so I don't have to worry about it drying out......Actually I planted a hydrangea, but don't remember what kind. It hasn't died, but it hasn't grown any either. BUt it is fairly small so perhaps it needs time.
I hope the suggestions keep coming as I can't be the only one with this type of area. I have pulmonaria (i know that's spelled wrong) If what I plant in the shade doesn't die, it doesn't grow any larger either! I'll have to try some toad lily's...I have some out front, I guess I'll divide and see how they do in the back. Again Thanks and keep the suggestions coming.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 11:31PM
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I think this winter is getting to me - I've forgotten what's under the snow. One of my shade faves is Stylophorum diphyllum, our native Celadine poppy. Even in my dry shade they bloom pure yellow off and on all summer (but best in Spring) and have great blue-green foliage the rest of the season. It's also one of the first plants to sprout/leaf out in early Spring.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 2:42PM
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