shade plant for container

jilliebean9700(7a)May 31, 2012

i have a open area in my shade garden which looks strange. i cannot plant in ground at this spot bc there is a concrete slab embedded there under the dirt. what shade plant with visual interest (color or flowers) can i plant in a container. i would hope to have it be perennial if possible.

thanks for your suggestions

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

I think nobody's saying anything because the question is a little vague with too many possible answers. Also, it's risky recommending anything to live in a pot year-round. The general wisdom is to use plants that are hardy to colder zones. Do you have a color preference? What about a bird bath?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:43AM
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I'm not familiar with your zone, but would you consider a pot of colorful annuals? When weather changes, you are done with it.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:36PM
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I added a birdbath top to my blank spot and then planted some moss roses in it. They love it!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 11:03PM
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I enjoy several pots in part shade here. As long as the pots are large 16" or more width & height to contain at least 1 cu ft of potting soil a shade container is a breeze all summer long. Most of the time I grow some of these same plants in the ground in other gardens and am able to dig up plugs to insert in new pots I create. That way if something goes wrong with the pot I still have plants to use as backup growing in the garden. Another easy tip is to find a native woodland plant. Sometimes I've had them seed themselves in my pots, so I just let them join in.

Any combination to include a blooming plant or just one plant in a colorful pot would be a burst of color. Put another upturned pot or stacked bricks to bring pot to level desired.

I mostly use groundcovers as spillers.
Use a bulb planter to make your plugs if desired. (make hole in planter soil, go make a plug of groundcover to carry back to planter to plop in the hole. Then go back to garden to fill the empty spot with compost and it will fill back in quickly this time of year. **Local independent nurseries have a wide selection of groundcover plants that will usually work great in easy care containers.
vinca minor esp. variegated, but all work (tuck in some of the trailing stems at least 1x a year to root & fill out more)
golden creeping jenny
various ajuga (if planted prior to bloom & late spring spreading it just flows out of the pot)
variegated bishops weed, Aegopodium podagraria *as a solo plant in pot or with a bright blooming annual looks great if you can keep it moist all summer. Cut back after a hot spell & it fills out again. Over time roots crowd the pot, so replanting will renew it again. Cover with evergreen boughs in late fall for winter interest. Sometimes I even insert the branches and it doesn't seem to bother the groundcover any. I cut blooms off because I don't want it to reseed in the garden.

lamium, spotted dead nettle esp. white foliage marked ones
sweet woodruff
hosta, esp big blue leaved ones for that round full pot look!
Sarcococca, sweet box
Serbian bellflower
pachysandra, variegated or solid green(sweet fragrant blooms early spring)
columbine, any (cut back hard after bloom & foliage looks good, some have darker stems, too)
lady's mantle (if you don't like the airy yellow blooms cut the stalk off & enjoy the large leaves)
masterwort, Astrantia -- long blooming June-frost here, some are shorter & ideal for pots
annuals like impatiens, nicotania, begonias, or coleus (some can be overwintered inside)
upright fuchsia with interesting foliage like Aurea, Golden Herald or Autumnale
many hardy geraniums do fine in pots as long as you keep them moist (blooming is less in shade, but some go all summer long or rebloom if cut back hard after flowering

accent grass
Acorus, sweet flag esp the golden one (slow grower)
Carex, Ice Dance or orange
Hakonechloa, Japanese forest grass esp Aureola
ribbon grass, Phalaris in a sunken gallon pot so you can remove it midsummer when it looks shabby (mine always does no matter what, but I still love it in early spring and summer)
fern - especially if you have any native to your area (I've used our lady ferns for years in L. pots)

Hope that helps,

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 3:12PM
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troutwind(7a SE TN)

My first choice would be a hosta. Pick one that has variegated leaves and you will have the display of foliage when the hosta isn't blooming. I've kept two in pots on either side of my front door for the past three years. Once the foliage dies back I just place the pots under our second floor screen porch and they're good to go in the spring. I also agree with Corinna that the big blues are impressive. Some hosta with a lot of white or cream in their leaves do not do well unless they get enough full sun to make up for the reduced chlorophyll they have to work with.
One caution though. We are both in the same zone and I've found vinca minor to be highly invasive. I've been fighting legacy vinca minor since we moved in 18 years ago. I'm seriously considering trying to buy a suitcase nuke on the black market. That of course would be as a last resort but right now the only thing I fear more than vinca minor is kudzu.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2012 at 8:15PM
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