The Q&A Archives: Heather In The Shade?

Question: I need to plant something next to the foundation on the north side of my house. It's almost always shaded, as the overhang of the roof blocks out any sun that might come through. The neighbor's gutter tends to dump rainwater in the area, but I think it drains pretty well. I'd like something that will stabilize the soil and add some vertical interest to this flat, rather boring area. Are there any varieties of Heather or a heather-like shrub I could plant there? I'd like something evergreen that will give me some colorful blooms...

Answer: Heather likes full sunshine and well-draining soil that tends to be on the dry side. The area you describe isn't suitable for heather, but here are some other plants for you to consider: Sarcococca, Fuchsia, Tradescantia virginiana, Lamium maculatum, Asiatic lily, Rehmannia elata (Chinese foxglove), Clivia and Dicentra (bleeding heart) are all good choices for the site. None has the mounding habit of heather but all offer seasonal bloom.

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