The Q&A Archives: Some Shade-Loving Plants

Question: Can you help with a dense shade area beside a large shed. It is part of a walkway to an arbor covered with clematis. I live in zone 6, just south of Boston. I need to fill an area that is fourteen feet long by four to five feet wide. I need some adviceon group planting that can include shrubs (No yews), ferns, hostas etc. I would really like some color and flowers. Would virburnum work? What else would work for a graduated planting (tallest to shortest). The area is also medium wet in spring and fall, but it tends to drain well.I bought Burpee's "Shade Gardening" book from the American Gardening Series but I can't seem to find the plants and shrubs I need to work out this problem. I prefer perennials and shrubs, but will be happy to plant annuals if they will work better. Thanks, and I hope this wasn't too long. Dot Barry Weymouth, MA

Answer: It sounds like your off to a good start with that shady area. I'd suggest vibrunum only if you get 1/2 day of sun. If not it will just get leggy and not flower well. Other plants to try are clumps of Amelanchier, astibe, forget me nots, hosta, sweet woodruff, lily of the valley, any ferns, small leaved rhododendrons such as PJM and bleeding hearts. Check in your shade gardening book for ultimate heights and planting distances and you can create a nice shade garden area with these plants. I have many of these plants growing in my zone 4 location on the north side of our house and they do well.

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