The Q&A Archives: Hardy, Shade Loving Evergreens

Question: I am designing a garden that I want to be fairly low maintainence. I'm having trouble finding anything (flowers, ground covers, vines, shrubs etc.)that grows in a shady garden. If they could be evergreens as well, I would be very appreciative.

Answer: For shady sites, there are quite a few plants to choose from! Consider: Alchemilla (Lady's Mantle), Astilbe (Meadowsweet), Bergenia (same), Brunnera (Siberian Bugloss), Campanula carpatica (Bellflower), Ceratostigma (Blue Plumbago), Chrysogonum (Goldenstar), Heuchera (Coralbells), Hosta (many varieties are low growing), Primula (Primrose), Pulmonaria (Lungwort), Trillium grandiflorum (Wakerobin), Trollius (Globeflower), Dwarf Bearded Iris, Ajuga (groundcover), Pachysandra (groundcover), Asarum europaeum (European Ginger -groundcover).

Annuals such as impatiens do well in shady areas. Flowering perennials such as Astilbe, Aconitum, Aquilegia, Brunnera, and Alchemilla will put on a nice show. Try Asarum europeum, also known as European Ginger for something that is absolutely gorgeous and somewhat new to most gardeners. Of course Hostas are one of my top picks for shady areas and there are many, many varieties. Bulbs such as daffodil, most tulips, crocus, grape hyacinth, squill and dwarf iris. For flowering ground cover I would choose Ajuga or Epimedium. Pachysandra is a top choice for shady area ground cover. For erosion control I would opt for Coronilla varia or Crownvetch. It is a flowering ground cover, excellent for erosion control that spreads rapidly and efficiently. It grows to about 2' tall. If that is too high for you, consider Lamium Mac. 'Silver Beacon'. It also flowers and grows to 6" in height.

Hope these suggestions help you finish your design!

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