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Past Articles Library | Gardening Design | Plants For Shade Areas

Bright Plants Can Really "Pop" Full Shade Areas

Some of the toughest areas for most gardeners to work with are full shade areas.

Partial shade isn't too bad because some light gets in and can give you more plant choices, such as impatiens and begonias.

A full shade area however, can create a "void" or a "black hole" in your garden that just sits there looking empty even if you have some ferns or other full shade filler plants.

The best way to work around this problem is to use brightly variegated foliage plants, and plants with brilliant flowers.

By doing so, you give the illusion of light in a dark area, which not only makes the area more interesting to look at, but it can also make the area look bigger by adding some depth.

Here are some true shade-loving plants:

Vine maple (Acer circinatum) - Bright foliage
Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) - Bright foliage
Flowering dogwood (Cornus) - Spring flowers in pinks, whites, reds

Variegated euonymous (Euonymus fortunei) - Variegated foliage
Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) - Bright foliage
Sweet Box (Sarcococca) - White flowers
Japanese aucuba (Aucuba japonica) - Variegated foliage

Ground Covers, Perennials, Bulbs and Annuals
Wake robin (Trilliium) - Bright pink, white, purple flowers
Bear's breech (Acanthus mollis) - Bright white flowers
Arum - Brilliant orange-red berries
Wild ginger (Asarum) - Bright flowers
Bergenia - Bright pink flowers
Fancy-leafed caladium (Caladium bicolor) - Brilliant foliage
Kaffir lily (Clivia minata) - Bright flowers and berries
Bleeding heart (Dicentra) - Bright flowers
Helleborus - Bright Flowers
Coleus - Brilliant foliage
Variegated plantain lily (Hosta) - Variegated foliage

Gladwin iris (Iris foetidissima) - Bright flowers
Dead nettle (Lamium) - Variegated foliage
Variegated liriope (Liriope) - Bright flowers
Mertensia - Bright flowers
Polemonium - Variegated foliage with purple flowers
Primrose (Primula) - Wide range of bright flowers
Lungwort (Pulmonaria) - Variegated foliage
Periwinkle (Vinca) - Bright purple flowers
Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) - Bright white flowers


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Rotate Certain Crops

Avoid planting potatoes and tomatoes where they grew last year. They carry the same diseases, so it's best to rotate them.

You'll have much healthier plants, and more successful crops.

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