The Q&A Archives: Suggestions for plants

Question: Dear Monrovia,

I have a very narrow (about 2 feet wide) but long strip (about 25 feet long) for a garden between my house and the driveway. It is a shady spot facing west and facing another house. I have kerria on the sunny side of my house and I like how it gets tall and arches a bit. Is there any shade loving plant that you can recommend that would have that affect and be able to thrive in this narrow location? Any suggestions are tremendously appreciated.

Thank you.
Karen Steele

Answer: I have grown kerria in shade and although it is thinner and a bit leggier and blooms a bit lighter than in sun, it will survive there. If you really like it you might try one or two and see how it does for you. You may need to run a wire along the wall to tuck it up behind if it reaches outward too far towards the light. Another possibility might be the climbing hydrangea, Hydrangea petiolaris. You could also consider shrubs such as Nandina domestica (graceful arch, will do fine in a narrow space) or Euonymus fortunei cultivars such as "Emerald Gaiety" which will mound at the base like a shrub but also climb and cling to the wall. Among perennials you might look into Cimicifuga. Your local professional nursery staff may have other suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the planting site and your design goals. Good luck with your project!

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