Hardy plants for shady area

pooispoois2April 15, 2013

Good evening to all!

I'm trying to plant a problem spot on my garden where nothing seems to grow. The spot seems to have aggregated in the same space all possible aggressions!

The spot is a small area in the corner of our fence, which used to let light through but is now (intentionally) completeled covered up by a vine 2 m (6'6'') high, so that no direct light passes through. Also, the vine has completely rooted the soil, with thin roots present everywhere immediately below the surface. Competition with the vine and low light led to the grass slowly dying away.

After the grass died away, I tried planting some ferns, naturally adapted to the low light and high humidity of the spot. They died off and new ones sprouted, but remained dwarvish (shorter than my thumb!) and were eventually killed off by a snail plague (we took care of that) combined with a leaking pipe underground that turned the earth into mud and completely killed off anything green that still remained on the spot (even weeds).

Since then (this was about a year ago) nothing has ever grown back on the spot. I tried planting an overgrown peace lily I had inside the house there, but it did not make it.

The spot has therefore very peculiar conditions (different from the rest of the garden): always in shade (gets a fair amount of indirect light though, given the white walls of the house), temperature ranging from 5-25úC (41-77úF), high humidity throughout the year, and stiff competition from the vine. What could possibly grow here?

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I believe that fern need well draining soil.
Vinca minor comes to mind.
It is a ground cover vine, flowers in spring and can be invasive.
Not sure about conditions and availability in Portugal.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:13PM
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That is actually a great idea - and although I had never seen it around, it seems Vinca minor is actually native to Portugal so it should not be hard to find. If it grows well I might even adopt it as my new groundcover - since the current groundcover is the semi-invasive Erigeron karvinskianus (although it does fare great as a groundcover), which I had been willing to replace for some time now.

Thank you for your help.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 5:42AM
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I've quite enjoyed a patch of golden creeping Jenny, or Lysimachia nummelaria 'Aurea', in a dark, boggy corner near my fence. It's really bright, which might look nice with the white wall.

Another plant that might serve is one I use as a hanging basket plant in central Ohio, but is apparently popular as a groundcover farther south -- Tradescantia spathacea. Moses-in-a-basket, boat lily, oyster plant are some of the common names.

Mine is a dark purple with lavendar stripes, and I take cuttings every fall to plant it out in the summer, because I have trouble keeping it watered enough all summer here.

Good luck -- it sounds like a very tricky spot!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 2:23PM
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You could try Syngonium, they don't need much light at all. Schefflera is another option, it's often grown successfully in pots indoors so should do very well in the circumstances you describle.

A picture would help though.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 1:53PM
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I have actually found Vinca Minor growing in a neighbour's garden, so I will take some cuttings and try to grow it. If it does not like the spot, then I will try some of the other suggestions!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 4:17AM
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You can try out with some other plants too. If you store it in your parking space then it will minimise the space it utilises for the usage. You candiscard or remove any items that are not necessary and give yourself space to organise
the things.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 1:16AM
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