How To Grow A Shade Garden

Often we hear that shady spots are hard to grow plants in  – that nothing will grow under trees or in the shade. This is definitely not true. With the right plants for your zone, you can have a stunning shade garden that just may trump your sunny front yard! Here are a few tips to get you started on planning your new shade flower bed.

Amend Your Soil

As with pretty much any type of garden bed, you need to make sure that your soil is amended with rich compost or loam for a good start for your plants. You can either make your own compost or buy it from a local greenhouse which you can then add to your dirt.

Choose The Right Shade Plants

Choose shade plants that grow well in your gardening zone. My zone 3 shade garden looks great with Ferns, Hostas, Coral bells as well as Lily of the valley. My neighbor up the street has a dramatic Elephant Ear plant that is huge – very striking in her flower bed. Check with your gardening center – they often are a great help in with picking out plants appropriate to your area.

Use White Flowering Plants

Not only are white flowers striking in the dusk, they can also help to ‘lighten up’ your shady garden and are excellent accents to Hostas and Ferns. Plumes of white Astilbe look quite striking in a shade garden as does a white-flowered Bleeding Heart plant.

Choose Different Varieties of Plants

You can create a striking shade bed by using different plants that have different leaf textures. Again, a favorite of mine are Hostas which come in numerous shades as well as shapes. You can also choose Ferns for different textures such as the Ostrich Fern or the Maidenhair Fern for variety and interest as well as showcase your white flowering plants.

Allow Some Sunlight

Just because you have a shady garden does not mean that it does not get any sunlight. Often shady gardens are exposed to morning or evening sunlight. If your backyard has some larger trees, you could also allow extra sunlight by lightly pruning any overhead trees above your shade garden.

Some plants thrive on less sunlight than others so choosing your plants for what will grow best will result in the healthiest shade garden.

Remember that before you buy your shade plants, you need to check the plant tag to find out whether the plant you are interested in is partial or full shade tolerant. You will be amazed at how much you can perk up a shady corner with the right plants due to color as well as texture. I know that I have a shady corner that is calling out for a shady flower bed as well as a new hammock in between the trees!

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