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Japanese style container gardening on shady Seattle patio?

Posted by Brigandine 7 (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 9, 14 at 18:43

Hello to everyone! I'm looking for ideas to fill out my sad lifeless patio. I've been a student for a while (grad student now) and love plants but have only now started to come to terms with being confined to containers for gardening, and bad luck with getting mostly heavily shaded growing areas wherever I live. This year I was lucky enough to get a small patio with my apartment, but it is pretty shaded most of the day, though it does get some (mostly indirect) sun in the morning. I've decided to try and embrace the shade and grow things that might actually stand a chance in it.

I'm looking to start a collection of either long-term plants I could potentially take around with me to apartments I might live in (will probably be doing the apartment thing for a while) and maybe plant long term when I finally do get someplace with a yard, or for ideas for annuals that really like shade. Someday I'd really like to start a Japanese style garden so I was thinking I could start collecting some very young/small versions of plants (especially trees) now that would fit that style that I could grow in containers until I have a larger space, such as maples, juniper, azaleas, etc.

After poking around and not finding any forum posts specifically addressing this question, I thought I'd post to ask if anyone have experience/ideas they might share for Japanese style gardening in containers, particularly for a shady PNW growing area? I'm not married to any particular types of plants, though I am fond of trees/shrubs, and would like to maybe get a mix of foliage and things that could flower even in shade.

Thanks for any replies!


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RE: Japanese style container gardening on shady Seattle patio?

Hi Brigandine! I am a grad student too so I know the confines of container gardens, moving around and badly situated patios!

A few things came to mind based on your restrictions-- first, a dwarf bamboo. Dwarf bamboos live in the shade of bigger bamboos so that might work perfect in your space. That would also get you the Japanese style feel you are looking for. When you said you wanted a tree I was also thinking about a tree fern. Ferns are in many Japanese gardens and a tree fern would give you the height you are looking for. Many can do well in containers, just be cautious of the size and weight before you choose one. These would really thrive in your space. Put it next to a stone lantern and you will get the feel you are going for.

I do think some Japanese maples will do alright in the shade, and you can prune them to a small shape, but I have no direct experience with them.

Good luck!


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