Groundcover for shade

judyny6(z6 NY)April 8, 2007

I would appreciate any suggestions-I have an acre of property, and it is shaded all along its perimeter with large trees. There is nothing underneath them except dirt. I have planted some shrubs that take shade, but I would also like to plant some groundcovers. They obviously will have to take shade, and I would like something wildlife can use for cover or food- with the exception of deer. I would be thankful for any advice.

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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Virginia Creeper is nice but don't plant any vinca or english ivy or you will never get rid of it.

I personally stay away from ground covers and go for lots of plant materials like hostas, ferns and flowy shade perennials. There are tens of thousands of hosta varieties alone and likely almost as many types of ferns. Bleeding Hearts look FABULOUS in a woodsy setting, many varieties of trillium and jack in the pulpit, beautiful virginia bluebells, astilbes in many colours, coral bells in many foliage as well as flower colour, bunchberry, wild nodding onion, blue cohosh, trout lily, corydallis in a few shades of yellow, white, pinks etc.. wood lilies, many varieties of pulmonaria, white/yellow/lavender/purple wild violets, baneberries (white and red), false solomon's seal, smooth solomon's seal, cardinal flower, hellebores, bergenias, impatiens, anemones, monkshood, primrose, monkeyflowers, fuschias and many more...

Why just plant boring old ground cover when there are so many beautiful things you could fill in the space with?

southern Ontario, CANADA

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 4:01PM
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What about Sweet Woodruff? (Galium odoratum) It like full or partial shade, has pretty foliage, tiny white flowers, spreads indefinitely, and smells like fresh cut hay when you step on it. The book I found it in covers southeast Canada. I'm not sure what zone that would ultimately be, but it sound pretty hardy.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 4:24PM
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My favorites are: wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), bunchberry (Cornus canadenis), partidgeberry (Mitchella repens), Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica), and box huckleberry (Gayluassacia brachycera). The last one is hard to find. The only place around here that it can be found is "Garden in the Woods." (MA)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 10:16AM
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Kelp! I bought a huckleberry at Garden in the Woods! But it died pretty quickly. If I'm not mistaken, they are fussy about acid or something. Am I remembering that correctly?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 7:32PM
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How good is your soil? We use sensitive ferns - they spread really fast on their own.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 7:52PM
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Vonyon--Yes, they like it moist,well-drained,(add a touch of pool sand) acidic, and VERY organic. Lots of compost, shredded leaves, etc. added to the soil at planting time. Oh, yea, partial shade,too.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 4:59PM
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thistle5(z7 VA)

Great list, Barb, I'd add epimedium, geraniums, tricyrtris, bletilla striata, saxifrage-but I think hellebores are my favorite, they just are so beautiful year-round. I need to add more ferns & hostas, but heucheras are another plant that you could add forever, w/ all the new varieties...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 6:43PM
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Lots of good ideas, but, what kind of trees are they. Some trees and other plants inhibit the growth under and arround them. I would hate for anyone to plant a dream garden and then watch it die.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 9:24PM
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