The Q&A Archives: Shade Gardening

Question: I have a lot of trees and the amount of sunshine in any particular spot on my yard is limited to 3-4 hours at best. Can you suggest any flowering annuals and perennials that will live up to these conditions besides hostas and impatiens? Any plants that will repel animals?

Answer: Unfortunately, most plants do not repel animals, with the possible exception of thorny branches spread on the ground or castor bean plants repelling moles.

There are many plants for shade. You could consider the many varieties of hostas (beyond plain green) combined with different ferns, pulmonaria, astilbe, goats beard, Virginia bluebells, tradescantia, Solomon's seal, tiarella, violas and violets, mondo grass, liriope, sweet woodruff, heuchera, columbine, perennial geraniums, and decorative variegated forms of English ivy.

Annuals might include caladium, primroses, browallia, nigella, monkey flower, coleus, hypoestes (pink polka dot), tuberous begonias, fibrous rooted bedding or wax begonias, trailing lobelia and in the brighter spots sweet alyssum and nicotiana and spider flower or cleome.

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