Fall color in the shade?

topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)September 29, 2013

Spring is so pretty, summer nice, but nothing is blooming in fall at my garden. I need ideas for shade plants and shrubs that bloom late. Does anyone know if loropetalum will take shade? I am moving all my sunny border plants because it has become shady and they were pitiful this year. Suggestions?

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I cannot address loropetalum, but know several other good plants for part to full shade for interest late summer into autumn and beyond:

Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire) is a shrub native to the U.S. that has lovely flowers in the spring and red foliage in the fall. The one in my zone 7 coastal NJ garden is now turning red.

Fothergilla (another native shrub) has white bottlebrush flowers in spring and, depending on variety, leaves will turn bright yellow to orange in fall. Leaves haven't begun to turn yet.

Ninebark (physocarpus) 'Diabolo' can take some shade; smallish pink flower clusters in late spring/early summer, but the real asset is the dark burgundy leaves all season long.

Lonicera sempervirens (native, or coral, honeysuckle) is a vining plant that is still blooming here.

Aucuba Japonica is not native, and has insignificant flowers, some red berries, but is an evergreen that does very well in dappled shade. 'Gold Dust' has leaves dotted with yellow spots that really brighten the shade.

Variegated Solomon's Seal, although finished blooming long ago in my garden, is still brightening the area with its white-edged leaves.

Bugbane (cimicifuga racemosa) 'Hillside Black Beauty' is just beginning to flower now - clusters of tiny white flowers on tall stalks. They seem to glow when the low afternoon sun hits them. The leaves of this variety are supposed to be very dark - almost black - but I find they are more green in a shaded location.

Japanese anemone 'Whirlwind' will take some shade, white flowers blooming now.

Epimedium is wonderful for dry shade, with tiny flowers that hover over the leaves in spring, foliage that persists until frost. Check varieties for those that have best fall color. Note that some are clump-forming and others are spreading, so choose wisely.

Toad lily (tricyrtis) thrives in shade and is blooming now; check varieties for form (upright or cascading) and color, but usually a shade of purple against creamy white petals. Honestly, I never liked these until I saw them in a garden. Wonderful combined with the dark mauve fading flowers of hydrangea.

There are several witchazels, all are understory trees or shrubs and bloom December through March, depending on variety. Virginiana, our native, blooms late November into December here with yellow flowers before the leaves appear. The asian species bloom usually February into March, with flower colors ranging from palest yellow to red.

Camellia blooms late November well into December here. Many varieties, check for bloom time. Spring blooming ones are more susceptible to frost damage of the buds.

Fernleaf bleeding heart (dicentra eximia) blooms in spring, rests during the hot summer months, then reblooms when the weather cools.

Obedient plant (physostegia virginiana) is supposed to require full sun, but mine is doing well with sun until about noon, then dappled shade. Blooming very nicely now. Just watch out for this one, as it can reseed prolifically.

Nandina domestica (heavenly bamboo) is neither domestic (it's from Asia) nor bamboo. This shrub can take some shade and produces clusters of red berries that hold well into winter.

Our own native blueberry shrubs! Some have beautiful fall foliage color ... as well as delicate spring flowers and delectable summer fruits (if you can get to them before the birds do).

I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's a start. Just please try to stay away from invasive plants like burning bush and Japanese barberry. There's a good list at www.njisst.org (bottom left corner of the home page, there's a "Do Not Plant" list).

This post was edited by agardenstateof_mind on Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 0:44

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:33AM
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Mapleleaf viburnum, Viburnum acerifolium, is very colorful and shade tolerant.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:30PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

Thanks...I have lots of fall leaf color, but sure could use some flowers...mums are ok, asters and boltonia all done...everything covered with sooty mold since we are surrounded by giant hackberry trees...just need something cheery...it looks quite depressing and this should be a glorious time of year...still too hot for wintery things and very dry...most vivid color is
brown. :-(

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 7:22PM
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princessgrace79(8 PNW)

Japanese anemone and hardy cyclamen are blooming for me now in the shade.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 1:54AM
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Plumbago is a groundcover with beautiful cornflower-blue flowers in late summer and fall. It grows in shade.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:03PM
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aconitum (Arendsii), Gentiana, Heuchera Autumn Bride, Aster October skies, (yes it blooms in some shade), and chrysanthemum, solidago fireworks, also try some foliage varieties of hostas, hakonechloa grass, and carex,. many many Heucheras>>>shrubs with yellow foliage etc.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 1:31PM
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