I choose these 6 must have perennials for my shade garden because the colors, textures, and heights of each plant makes a statement. For me, gardening is about beauty and not about the rules. The varying heights and tightness of my shade garden give little room for weeds to grow and makes my eye wander taking in all the bright colors and interesting ruffles and serration of the leaves. I love the closeness of each plant touching and I have always crowded my plants together. This is a personal choice in your garden and gardening is about working with nature and planting what makes you feel happy. I do have more perennials mixed in the shade garden but I am writing about the 6 most common and easily found shade garden perennials for the beginner gardener.
The 6 must have perennials for a shade garden are:
- Hosta (Plantain) zones 4-9
- Ferns (these are just 3 of what I remember I have planted)
- Heuchera (Coral Bell) zones 3-9 depending upon cultivar
- Variegated Solomon Seal (Polygonatum odoratum) zones 3-8
- Astilbe zones 3-8
- Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia) zones 4-9
I get to see my shade garden every time I leave and return home. It is located on the side of my home and garage door entrance. I cannot gush enough about how much I love my shade garden. The color, texture, and shape of the leaves of the ferns, hostas, and heuchera give way to the traditional manner that many gardening ‘experts’ tell you how to plant. I do not follow the rules set by some gardener who wrote about it in a book. I work with nature and the soil and conditions I have in my own yard to determine what to plant and not to plant.
You do not have to plant in such close proximity or use so many different types as I do. I just love color and in a shade garden where blooms may be far and few between. I use the colors and textures of different types of Heuchera, Astilbe, Hostas, Ferns, and Foam Flowers; and I use the Variegated Solomon Seal as a back drop because of its arching white and green leaves and stems.
From the photos you will see that I do have 2 low growing variegated hostas that I put in front. I have had these hostas for at least 16 years bringing them from Illinois when I moved to Virginia. Putting similar heights together and the shorter ones to the front helps keep taller plants from overpowering the shorter ones.
The best way to give you advice on planting these 6 must have shade garden perennials? Experiment. Yes I said experiment by placing the plants in the bed before planting to see what they may look like. I even ‘color coordinate’ the leaf colors so they do not compete with each other. I have no real style or directions but to say check out the pictures and see for yourself how I mixed and blended all the different plants.
Thank you for stopping by. I love gardening and I love working with nature. If you ever have a question, feel free to contact me. Happy gardening.
2016 copyrighted material C ReneeFuller @The Garden Frog Boutique