Gardening in the shade can provide a whole new challenge for even the accomplished gardener. No matter how green your finger, you can always benefit from careful plant selection and positioning to maximise growth, and the ultimate appearance of your plants. In this article, we will look at some of the more important considerations for shade perennials, and where you can go to find the best quality in shade planting for your garden.
Preparing for Shade Perennials
If you are one of those gardeners with a shady property, don’t despair. It can feel like you have no chance; like you are fighting an uphill battle at times, if your garden is completely in shade. However, there are things you can take into account to make for a beautiful garden, whatever it’s sun exposure.
The first step you should take before planting is to try and improve the quality of your soil. Do not be fooled into thinking improving soil quality is an easy job. It is very much a fine art, and requires a great deal of patience. Nevertheless, after you have worked towards improving your soil, you will see the benefit in your plant growth.
Initially, try to work out your soil type. This can be done by analysing the texture. If your soil seems very fine, you should add some clay, or lime to the soil to try and thicken it slightly. On the flip side, if the soil seems very compact, add some sand. You are looking for a kind of halfway house, and if you manage to get some way towards that, you will improve growth within your soil, even without too much sunlight.
Additionally, your shade perennials will grow far more effectively if you increase the mineral content of your soil. One great and easy way to do this is to mix in a layer of straw with your soil. By turning straw through the soil and allowing it to decompose, you will be filling your soil with rich organic matter, which will be great for plant growth. After you’ve improved your soil, you’ll be ready to plant your shade perennials, and give them a fighting chance of survival in even the shadiest of parts.
Choosing Shade Perennials
Choosing which shade perennials to plant in your garden can be exciting and fulfilling for any gardener. There are so many different options available to you, and you can spend literally hours trying to decide which to plant. Generally speaking you want to look for plants which open for a longer period.
A short list of good perennials for shade would include:
- Helleborus (Christmas Rose)
- Jacobs Ladder
- Blue Leaved Hostas
- Japanese Toad Lily
- Lily of the Valley
- Shooting Star
- Blue Bells
Shade perennials tend to bloom early, so you want to make sure it’s still attractive when the summer comes. If you’re looking for guidance on choosing plants for your garden, it is always a good idea to head down to your local garden centre.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – the staff are generally well trained in planting, and so you will be able to receive some helpful tips in choosing and indeed caring for your plants.
If you’re looking to buy shade perennials, one of the best places to go is a small independent nursery. There you will find that the plants have received more care and attention than at larger garden centres, and this will prove a real difference when it comes to planting in your garden.