Sometimes shady gardens seem like a curse but there are many fun and exciting plants that can be used in this location. When looking at the sight it is important to think about shade gardens for one of their finest attributes, the potential to look like a peaceful woodland sanctuary! There are many perennials that will work well in this environment and many can be found in our shady perennial section at Hook’s Greenhouse. Remember shady plants will be listed on their tags as Part Sun / Part Shade which may be used interchangeably to mean 4 to 6 hours of sun each day, preferably in the morning and early afternoon. If a plant is listed as Part Shade, the plant will need some relief from the intense late afternoon sun. Dappled Sun is similar to partial shade. It is the sun that makes its way through the branches of a deciduous tree. Woodland plants prefer this type of sunlight. Full Shade is less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day, with filtered sunlight during the rest of the day. Full shade does not mean no sun at all, there are very few plants, except mushrooms, that can survive in the dark.
Some great background plants for the shade would be Dicentra or Old Fashioned Bleeding Heart and Lenten Rose ‘Ivory Prince’. Dicentra grows 36’’ tall and bloom pink heart shaped blooms all in a row in early spring and loves dappled shade. Once bleeding hearts are finished blooming they tend to yellow out and look sad so planting this in the background of your shady garden will allow other plants to take over the spotlight after this one is done. It is important to not remove the leaves before they turn yellow or brown as it is storing food for next year. Lenten Rose has a very thick succulent looking flowers and leaves that the deer despise, it grows 12-18 inches tall and remains evergreen for the winter. Lenten Rose or it’s scientific name Helleborus, can be a welcoming early spring bloomer, sometimes even blooming through snow! They are also deer resistant!
Hosta ‘Hudson Bay’ has a very unusual green on green variegation and is striking planted next
to dark leafed Heuchera ‘Glitter’ and white bottle brush flowered Heucherella Fun and Games ‘Eye Spy’. Hosta ‘Hudson Bay’ can grow up to 24 inches tall and 24 inches wide, their bloom time occurs in the summer and is drought-tolerant once established. They are best grown in evenly moist soil in partial sun. They are more slug resistant than other Hosta’s and they attract hummingbirds. Heuchera (Glitter) is a beautiful variety of coral bells with light silver foliage with dark purple accents that appear in early spring with a tight mounding habit. They can grow up to 10 inches tall and 14 inches wide and can produce tall spikes of bright pink flowers reaching up to 16 inches tall. They also attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and are bee friendly and deer resistant. Heucherella Fun and Games ‘Eye Spy’ is a great woodland perennial with a nice mounding habit, it blooms tall spikes of pink flowers and can grow up to 10 inches tall and 20 inches wide. They bloom late spring or early summer.
Astilbe ‘Mighty Chocolate Cherry’ and Heartleaf Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ make a great partial shade to full shade border, full of seasonal color. Astilbe (Mighty Chocolate Cherry) which requires partial to full shade and has beautiful pink flowers can grow up to 10 inches tall. They bloom in mid summer and have an upright habit and reach an astonishing height of 3′ 6″. Average well drained soil is needed, they prefer humus rich soil typically found under woodlands edge. These particular plants are bee friendly, deer and rabbit resistant, and they also attract butterflies. They are deer resistant and bee friendly. Heartleaf Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ requires Partial to Full Shade. They can grow up to 12 inches tall and 15 inches wide. These magnificent flowers bloom in the spring, with tiny blue forget me not flowers and beautiful prominent green veined foliage. These plants are perfect for the front of a woodland garden, they attract hummingbirds, are bee friendly and resistant to deer and rabbits. Stop in and check these plants out and many more SHADY PERENNIALS!!