The Q&A Archives: Plants for Deep Shade

Question: Hello!

My questions:
1. Is there a dwarf night blooming jasmine? Can the the regular plant grow in deep shade?
2. Can hydrangeas bloom in deep shade? If not, what blooming plants can flourish in
deep shade--under a thick tree canopy? Also, can the climbing hydrangea grow below a pine tree?

Answer: There are a number of plants that will flourish in deep shade; not all will flower, but all will grow well under evergreen or deciduous trees:

Ferns are classic plants for shade. There are many species of ferns to select from - both native and exotic. Most ferns prefer a moist environment and are perfect for the woodland garden. Their light, airy texture provides an excellent contrast to the broad leaves of most plants. Some common types include holly fern, painted fern, royal fern, lady fern, sensitive fern, wood or river fern and autumn fern.

Here's a few other shrubs and ground covers that would prefer a shady location in your yard: acuba, aspidistra, camellia, holly (many species), Florida anise (Illicium floridanum), Oregon grapeholly (Mahonia), leatherleaf mahonia, Japanese fatsia, fatshedera, wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei), ajuga, variegated Japanese sedge (Carex), inland sea oats (best suited for naturalizing as it readily reseeds), and azaleas.

For a splash of color, try some of the following annuals, perennials and bulbs: impatiens, New Guinea impatiens, begonias, caladiums, Chinese ground orchid (Bletilla), columbine, achimenes ('Purple King'), firespike (Odontonema strictum), coleus, phlox, violets and spring-blooming bulbs such as narcissus.

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