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Help for a newbie in Melbourne

Posted by michiru4ever 9b (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 11:34

I'm very new to gardening, especially in Florida. We live in the Melbourne area in zone 9 b. Our house is very shaded in the front by oak trees. We have one small area at the very front by the garage that gets some morning and indirect sun but is shaded the rest of the day.

Our house faces South. The rest of the front is pretty much always in the shade. We want to do potted plants on top of rocks for the front, and bushes by the garage. We were thinking of hydrangeas but my mothers says azaleas would be better. Does anyone have advice about good shady flowering plants? And plants that do well in containers in full shade?

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RE: Help for a newbie in Melbourne

I'm sure someone will chime in with blooming plant suggestions, but as I dig through my memory of plants I have read up on, the ones that will bloom in shade will usually "Bloom more profusely in the sun."

An option to go with, unless you're dead set on having blooms, is to look at plants with variegated/colorful foliage. There are several plants that have a range of colors from the 'warm' side of the color spectrum. Using mixes of caladiums, coleus and... well... there are too many for me to readily bring to mind and list... but it could be very possible to have the most colorful yard on the block without a single (noticeable) flower among the plants. And the plus is you don't have to worry about figuring out which season the plants bloom in, because they will always be 'in bloom'. The downside is that most of these plants are somewhat frost sensitive and might need protecting during the winter. But, while I could be wrong, I think being in 9b, facing south, near the coast and with two big oaks providing cover, the amount of protection you will have to provide should be minimal.

RE: Help for a newbie in Melbourne

Melbourne is on the lower edge of 9B and has many microclimates that make it almost tropical instead of subtropical. How far are you from the beach? I know that people have many tropical varieties at the beach communities around Melbourne that would be crispy critters after the first frost/freeze if grown more inland.

Also, azaleas probably aren't the best choice. Your mother is right, they like shade, but they do better farther north. However, if you do have large oak trees casting a lot of shade, they like that kind of environment and might do well after all. Get your soil tested to make sure it's not too limey before going that route.

This post was edited by TheTradition on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 15:25

RE: Help for a newbie in Melbourne

Maybe plant some bromeliads...they like shade and are colorful...also impatients do well in my shady parts.

RE: Help for a newbie in Melbourne

I live at the Melbourne/Palm Bay line by the river.

RE: Help for a newbie in Melbourne

I used to live in the Vero Beach area. Azealeas need some shade. I think 6 hours of sun would be enough for them. Impatiens and green leaf begonias would do well in shade. The dark leaf begonias want more sun. Houseplants do awesome in your shady environment. Spider plants, pothos, bromeliads and Sanseverias. You will need to keep the Sanseverias in a pot. They will be invasive otherwise. also the purple leafed plant. I think it is in the wandering jew family does really well in the shade. It has a tiny violet colored flower.

RE: Help for a newbie in Melbourne

Justicia, some gingers, some ground orchids such as Phaius, ferns, wild coffee (a Florida native), camelias, Florida Anise, and for a ground cover Asiatic Jasmine, Liriope works well as a border plant, to place around the edges of your beds. I have a lot of shade in my yard, too. I am experimenting with a tree fern right now. But all of the ones I have mentioned are growing well in the shade in my yard now. Oh yes, if you have some dappled shade, Hydrangeas. I also have a guy who trims the lowest branches off my trees and it brings in a little more light and looks nice, too.

This post was edited by morningloree on Wed, Apr 24, 13 at 22:05

RE: Help for a newbie in Melbourne

As another poster said, trim those trees good and get the lower branches out of the way?

Azaleas look like total crap except for the couple weeks a year they bloom. I love the smell and look of them then, but it's one trick pony that isn't worth it in my opinion.

White caladiums under oaks look surprisingly good, and coleus can also be interesting. The caladiums will die off in the winter though, but will come back from bulbs the next spring. So in the winter you'll be a bit bare. However, this is also when the sun is lowest and most likely to shine under your nicely trimmed trees, so you might be ale to get some more sun in there and plant some cooler season annuals.

Personally, I like oak trees so long as they are in someone else's yard. If you ever want to grow anything spectacular they will have to go. I also can't stand the leaf litter and pollen/flowers.

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