The Q&A Archives: Shading Nook Needs Filling

Question: I have a corner piece near the house that is permanently shaded from trees (morning to noon) and concrete (noon to evening). Right now it is a barren dirt patch and I want to plant some kind of shrub to occuppy the space. Do you have any suggestions? I would be looking for something that gets no larger than four feet high and grows low to the ground.

Answer: For such a dark location you might try one of the Euonymous fortunei such as "Emerald Gaiety" or "Green and Gold" and so on. This plant grows in part like a shrub by mounding up on itself and in part like a vine so it can serve as a ground cover as well. It tends to be evergreen although may defoliate a bit in a severe winter. Before planting anything in that spot however it would be a good idea to enrich the soil with plenty of organic matter such as compost or rotted leaves or aged stable manure and bedding. You might also look into making sure that the spot is not pummelled by roof runoff or trampled by foot traffic in order to make sure the plant has a fighting chance of survival.

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