Q. I always enjoy reading
your articles. I have a question for you. I have two small gardens
around six by nine feet and they are both close to trees. They are
more shaded than not. I have trouble picking flowers that will grow
well because of the shade from the trees. Can you tell me what
flowers grow well in a shaded area? It does get sun, but has more
shade. Can you give me any ideas? I would really appreciate any
advice you can give me. Thank you!
A. There are many flowers
that grow well in shady gardens. Some of them are perennial and some
are annual. Planting a combination of spring, summer, and
autumn-blooming perennials and annuals will ensure blooms all season long.
shade-tolerant perennials, one of my personal favorites is Christmas
rose (Helleborus niger). This is one of the first plants to
bloom. In my garden it's in bloom by Valentine's Day. Lenten
rose (Helleborus orientalis) blooms in late March or early
April and can continue to bloom for several months. Both grow well in shade.
shade-loving perennial that is also a favorite of mine is fringed bleeding
heart (Dicentra eximia). Unlike the common bleeding heart
that dies back to the ground after it blooms, fringed
bleeding heart keeps its foliage all season. It
begins blooming as early as April and continues until frost. It's one
of the longest-blooming perennials and does equally well in sun or shade.
perennial that thrives in the deepest shade possible is Ligularia
stenocephala 'The Rocket.' This unique plant bears large,
heart-shaped leaves with deeply-toothed edges. In summer, five-foot-tall
spikes of golden yellow flowers rise high above its two-foot-tall
mound of foliage.
Some of the best annuals for shade include coleus, wax
begonia, and impatiens. Coleus has brightly-colored foliage that
offers as much color as any flowering plant. The colorful foliage
brightens up even the darkest corner. Wax begonia has bronze or green
foliage with small pink, red, or white flowers. It's a clump-forming
annual that reaches 10 inches tall or so. Impatiens forms a tall
mound of foliage covered with flowers from spring to frost. Flower
color is extensive and includes white, red, orange, pink, coral,
lavender, violet, burgundy, rose as well as bicolored and spotted.
Click here to read more about shade
perennials and order them from Pernell Gerver's Online Store.