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Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Posted by dissmith z8 SC (My Page) on
Sun, Jul 30, 06 at 12:23

I was planning to put in a row of tall "Elephant Ears" along a big blank north wall which gets no sun except very late afternoon in summer, but all the varieties seem to need more sun than I've got. I'm looking for ideas for any tall (5' or more) leafy tropical looking plants that could take mostly full shade. (Total space to fill is 20' by about 5'.) Any help appreciated!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

I love Fatsia japonica. And it's evergreen. Also comes in two variegated varieties: Spider web and variegata.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fatsia japonica


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Not tropical, but some hostas have the big leafy look and shade tolerance. Also, there are many ferns that suit your criteria. You can hang ferns 3-4' off the ground to fool the eye and give some height to a border.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Cannas will grow in the conditions you describe; they'll just be leafy plants, no blossoms.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

How bright is the shade? Some bananas can take quite a bit of shade; as long as you're not growing them for flowers or fruit, it doesn't matter if they just stay leafy.

Fatsia japonica as already mentioned is a good possibility, but they grow fairly slowly and would take a while to reach 5 feet tall. A bit faster-growing is Aucuba japonica, which does very well in shade; it's not terribly tropical-looking but the variegated forms can really brighten up a shady spot, and some even look a bit like crotons.

Various Aralia species are very hardy but tropical-looking perennials, shrubs and small trees and most will take some shade. A. spinosa and A. elata are very tropical-looking although they do tend to spread by root suckers; the other drawback is their viciously spiny stems.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Johnnieb, the shade is created by the two-story house. Otherwise the space is open. Late afternoon by the time the sun gets over that side. it's filtered through tall pines about 40 feet away.
Thanks for all the ideas everyone; I'm researching them like mad!! Hanging ferns...Hmmmm.:)


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

I have problems with gingers and cannas flopping over in shade, but the dwarf cannas I've tried seem to be happier. I have had good luck with Lucifer (took 2 years to get acclimated) and red futurity is doing well also. Some other things that are happy in my shade corner are Persian shield, caladiums, and taro. I moved some King palms that were very happy in the shade into a sunnier spot and now they are not!


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Acanthus mollis has huge tropical looking leaves and grows in shade.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

A combo of Fatsias and cast iron plants and holly ferns? I'm also in z8 SC and they work well for me in deep shade.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

How about Musa itinerans? "It grows inside mountain forests in the shade of trees"

Here is a link that might be useful: Musa itinerans


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

I have grown elephant ears in quite a bit of shade. What they really MUST have is lots of water to stay tall and look good. plantdelights.com has some incredibly nice looking and very tall Elephant ears. Rather expensive but I wouldn't think you would need many to get a "stand" going. But remember, lots of water. If you don't have that, then better not to use IMO.

But another plant that might work well is Rice Paper plant. We're in zone 8 and they seem to do quite well here. They might freeze during a hard freeze (so does elephant ears) but bounce back pretty quickly in the Spring.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Thanks for all the great ideas. I've already got some EE's and a Fatsia from Plant Delights and am researching/deciding on the rest. If it works out as hoped, I'll try and post a before and after pic.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Another thought might be Petasites Japonica. Not evergreen but develops huge leaves, loves the shady/forest light but again - needs to be watered. Will spread - quite aggressively - but not difficult too pull out when it wanders farther than one would like.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Butterbur


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Holly:
Wow! I love the look of that. I've gone from "no idea" to spoiled for choice. Thanks for the suggestion.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

I can send you Petasites japonica (green and variegated), a rooted sucker of Musa basjoo, and a vigorously rhizomatous Colocasia sp which has reached about 5' so far in a damp mostly shady area after surviving winter under mulch. In exchange I'm interested in some seeds of needle palm (Rhapidophyllum). I have a number of established plants, but am not getting much pollination.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

SteveNJ
I do wish I had something to exchange. This is the first year I've tried tropicals. Musa basjoo seems to grow well in this area. I wonder how they do in shade?


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Alocasia portodora will blow you away.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Wow! I think A. portodora would be GREAT! just added it to my list of "gotta get". Thanks. :)


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Philodendron selloum has done really well here the past six years. I mulch mine with a combo of pine needles and oak leaves, and it comes back reliably each year(grows to about 5.5ft each summer). Since you're in zone 8b, it should grow nicely for you.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Thanks Dwayne and everyone else, too. If this garden works out as I imagined, it'll be because of your help. If our hot weather lasts a bit longer, I may have a photo worth posting so you can see your handywork! If not, there's always next year. :)


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Don't dismiss a palm as well. Nothing says tropical like a palm tree. My trachys have grown very well in the shade as long as they get wter in the summer and don't drown in the winter.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Definitely keeping the palm idea in mind. Think I'll try that next season when I make the bed a bit wider.
Thanks!


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

Aspidistra... I have it growing where it gets NO sun at all.


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RE: Tall leafy tropical look for full shade foundatn?

What a coincidence! I just transplanted some Aspidistras from a "too sunny" spot to this bed yesterday! (Maybe I'm getting the hang of this. ;> )Thanks for the suggestion.


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