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hardy plants for light/medium shade?

Posted by kristin_c Puget Sound 7 (My Page) on
Mon, May 26, 14 at 23:00

My new (to me) house has a well established shrub garden on the north side of the house. It receives several hours of filtered afternoon shade, enough for the mockorange shrub to bloom although not profusely. The soil is slightly heavy but good and has good drainage (on a light slope). There are already Arum italicum and a big Aruncus, some feralized harebells, and a carpet of Spanish bluebells in spring.

In some of the gaps that weeds are currently colonizing, I'd like to add perennials, but I want plants that fit in well with a wilder look -- this is an area where I'd prefer to encourage tough desirable plants and generally keep the chaos down to a dull roar.

I'm drawing a blank on good prospects except for common violet, which I'll probably add toward the front where I want groundcover. Naturalizing or self-sowing plants are a plus. Any suggestions? I had a shady garden years ago but I've forgotten most of what I put in it.

Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

As a person living in California I often have zone envy. Many beautiful plants cannot thrive in my area. One that always makes me jealous is Cimifuga. Google it there are different cultivars. I also hear the PNW people talk about Corydalis. Check it out.


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

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This post was edited by emmarene on Fri, Jun 13, 14 at 16:46


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

Ferns, hosta, Virginia Bluebells, Hellebore, Bloodroot, Trillium, Solomon's Seal, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Bleeding Hearts, Hardy Geranium, Aconite, Snowdrops, Mayapple and more. Most of these are natives and none will take over your space. Some will reseed if they like the spot. Many are woodland plants, so will appreciate a thick layer of shredded leaves left as mulch to keep their feet cool and moist.

Good luck.

Martha


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

Puget Sound? You can have ANYTHING YOU WANT. including Meconopsis, the blue corydalis, and talk about zone envy >> Synelesis, Glaucidium, the choices are endless. Check out THE EXPLORER'S GARDEN by Dan Hinkley..and yes I believe he lives in Puget Sound, or there abouts


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

and yes I believe he lives in Puget Sound, or there abouts

LOL!! Makes him sound like an octopus or something......he lives alongside Puget Sound on a bluff just a couple of miles away from me. A gorgeous garden but almost full sun. The shady glens of Heronswood are far in the past.

For tough plants that suit a more wild look/appearance, I'd consider native ferns, tiarella/fringecup, saxifrages, wild ginger, Oxalis oregana, star flower, Pacific bleeding heart. All of these are PNW native perennials common to a woodsy/shady setting and tough as nails. Not exotics but heavy duty, carefree plants.

btw, even here in the PNW Himalayan blue poppies are NOT easy to grow. Usually treated as an annual.


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

interesting>>I thought that the blue poppy did well there. I guess even your summers are too sticky?


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

No, it's just that this is a very difficult plant to grow. Many forms are monocarpic so die after flowering anyway. We have cool enough summers and plenty of shade but a lot is from large conifers and other big native trees and it is dry. And we tend to have very dry summers as well. In the right soil conditions with at least partial shade and adequate water folks do grow it but many still treat like an annual and replant every year.


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

Somehow I didn't get email updates on this thread until GardenGal's last post! Thanks for all the suggestions and I will take them on board.


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

Watch bluebells and mayapple, lovely, but ephemeral (completely disappear after blooming so you can easily lose track of them). Some great suggestions given. I would like to add: climbing hydrangea, monarda, cardinal flower, astilbe, most lilies tolerate shade, autumn joy sedum did well for me, coral bell, lung wort (a favorite of mine), painted ferns....so many choices!


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

As posters have cited, you can just about grow anything in light/medium shade. Don't let it intimidate you. This shot has the sunniest spot in my garden (in the foreground with the coreopsis flowering)

This post was edited by birdsong72 on Tue, Jul 1, 14 at 12:24


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

Mandy, speaking of climbing hydrangeas - how do you like mine?

Can't get the pic to rotate properly, though the source pic on my hard drive is 'portrait'. That's an 80' oak it's climbing on.


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

My favorite plants for shade are epimediums, hellebores, and pulmonaria. Mix in a few of the sinarisaema group of aroids and some of the asiatic mayapples and perhaps Amorphophallus konjac for its fantastic foliage. Maybe Begonia grandis for the late season bloom.

All of these should be easy in your area.


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

Siberian bugloss,(brunnera) particularly the variegated type or the Jack Frost cultivar can really light up a shady garden and still be a player once the lovely, forget-me-not type flowers have faded.


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

That hydrangea looks EXACTLY like mine only mine is climbing a tulip poplar.


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RE: hardy plants for light/medium shade?

I see lots of wonderful suggestions for perennials and I was hoping I could add something to the conversation. I love viburnums for a lot of reasons, but even in my harsh climate there are many types that do really well in slightly or medium shaded areas. In your area (where I grew up and miss it often!) you pretty much can have almost any type of viburnum you want and it'll thrive.

There are so many cultivars out there and many are wonderful. I found this little gem- which would grow well in your area but not mine so I'm going to live vicariously through you right now! I know that viburnums are known usually for their blooms, fruit, and fall color. This one here seems to be a winner in new growth and evergreen foliage. Let it sort of grow without a lot of trimming and I bet it'll help add a backdrop to your new perennial bed that will have the look you're looking for.

Here is a link that might be useful: Viburnum Handsome Devil

This post was edited by pinusresinosa on Tue, Oct 21, 14 at 8:01


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