Shade Gardening

The cooling effect of a shade garden in summer is one of life’s most refreshing pleasures. Some of the most delightful and magical looking gardens are those that have incorporated shade into the landscape.

While some gardeners look at shade as a detriment to gardening, others realize that differing degrees of shade in your garden design can be one of your yard’s most attractive features. So consider your shady yard an asset and start incorporating a variety of shade loving plants that will thrive in low light conditions. First determine the type of shade your yard offers.

Types of shade

  • Dappled This is shade produced by open trees or by lathe structures. There are a wide range of shade loving plants that will thrive under these conditions.
  • Open Lots of good light available but no direct sunlight. This would be in the shadow of a building or fence.
  • Medium Light is further obscured by trees or branches. Typical of shade that would be found under a deck or stairwell.
  • Dense Very deep shade, such as in a tunnel entrance or northfacing side yard with minimal reflected light. Plant selections are fairly limited. (Think moss!)

Types of plants

Rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, hostas, coleus, fuchsia, impatiens and caladiums are some of the most popular, colorful and easiest to grow shade loving plants. Visit local nurseries to see what other types of shade plants they offer in your area, or check online merchants for more ideas for your shady spots.

and remember…

  • Make sure that the ground has a chance to dry out a bit between waterings in your shady areas. Since the sun doesn’t have a chance to dry the soil out, roots can sometimes become waterlogged which will encourage root rot.
  • As well, make sure your plants are spaced out well. Sometimes in the sun we can crowd our plants a little without damage, but in shade gardens, air circulation is vital to keep your plants in top health.
  • Finally, the cool damp condition in your shade garden can encourages mildew, blight and other problems, so be sure to keep plant and leaf debris picked up which will help reduce the spread of disease between plants.

Most of all enjoy your shady yard and keep in mind all those who would love to trade their hot sunny ones for yours when summer rolls around!