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flowering plants in the shade

Posted by bonsaist Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 3, 07 at 7:17

The north side of the house, rarely receives the sun. I've interested in planting flowering perennials that will attract butterflies and hummingbird.
It would be perfect if I can plant different varieties that will bloom at different times.
I've heard that Bleeding Heart, and Columbines will grow in the shade.
Any suggestions?
I thaught about planting ferns, but they get invasive.
Would rhododendron grow will in this shady spot? does it attract butterflies?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: flowering plants in the shade

Do a search for shade plants or visit your library or book store for a book on shade gardening to help you get started. There are scores of flowering plants that would prefer to be sited in a shady location and that will provide color throughout the season. Many early flowering woodland shrubs are attractive to hummingbirds, but I'm not sure what the migratory patterns are in your area - hummingbirds are year round visitors in my garden.

You also need to determine exactly what type of shade conditions you have. Unless immediately adjacent to the house or under the shadow cast by a large overhang, north facing planting areas tend to receive a lot more light than most suspect, specially in summer. You should not be overly limited by what you can plant in this type of location. Also, the canopies of large trees can create a different shade situation, as the tree roots will draw lots of soil moisture, providing dry shade - this gets a bit trickier to plant.

And I'd not necessarily eliminate ferns. Most ferns are NOT invasive and make great additions to a shade garden. You may be thinking about bracken fern, Pteridium, which does form large colonies, both by spreading root rhizomes and by spore dispersal. But it also happens to be an important food source for the larvae of various butterflies so you may want to include some anyway in a less cultivated part of the garden.

Here is a link that might be useful: here's just a few shade plants to get you started

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