The Q&A Archives: What to plant

Question: I live in a heavily shaded area with the soil being mostly clay. The ground is sloping with a ph of 5.5 to 6.5. What recommendations do you have? I'm open for any and all suggestions.

Answer: Different plants require different degrees of shade ranging from dense shade to dappled or partial shade. You need to study and understand what kind of light you have to achieve the optimum conditions for what you want to grow. You need to also consider that a plant which needs full, dense shade to survive the summer in a hot southern state will do just fine in partial shade in a cooler northern location. Instead of trying to change existing conditions, match your plants to the site. It's not only easier on the environment but also a lot less work for you. Most woodland plants will benefit from a rich soil and an environment that insures good air circulation, water and nutrients.

Plants which thrive in heavily shaded areas include:
Aconitum fischeri (Monkshood)
Ajuga reptens (Bugleweed)
Amsonia tabernaemontana (Willow amsonia)
Anemonella thalictroides (Rue anemone)
Convallaria majalis (Lily of the valley )
Cornus canadensis (Bunchberry)
Dicentra (Bleeding heart)
Dodecatheon meadia (Shooting star)
Helleborus niger (Christmas rose)
Hosta (Plantain lily )
Lobelia cardinalis (Cardinal flower)
Mertensia virginica (Blue bells)
Mysotis palustris s. (Dwarf forget-me-not)
Polygonatum biflorum (Solomon's seal)
Thalictrum adiantumfolium (Meadow rue)
Trillium grandiflorum (Wake robin)

For partially shaded spots, try growing:
Ageratum houstonianum (Floss flower)
Alyssum maritimum Sweet (Alyssum)
Anchusa italica (Dropmore)
Anemone japonica (Japanese anemone)
Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon)
Aquilegia (Columbine)
Asperula odorata (Sweet woodruff)
Astilbe chinensis (False Spirea)
Aubretia detoidea (Purple rock cress)
Begonia semperflorens (Wax begonia)
Belamcanda chinensis (Blackberry lily)
Bergenia cordifolia (Heart leaf bergenia )
Campanula rotundifolia (Hare bell)
Campanula (Bellflower)
Catharanthus roseus (Periwinkle)
Centauria americana (Basketflower)
Centauria suaveolens (Sweet sultan)
Chelone lyoni (Pink turtlehead)
Cimicifuga racemosa (Bugbane)
Clarkia elegans (Clarkia)
Coleus blumeii (Coleus)
Corydalis lutea (Golden bleeding heart)
Cymbalaria muralis (Kenilworth ivy )
Cynoglossum amabile (Chinese forget-me-not)
Cyperus alternifolius (Umbrella plant )
Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches)
Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove)
Doronicum plantagineum (Leopardbane)
Exacum affine (Persian violet)
Globularia cordifolia (Globe daisy)
Godetia amoena (Farewell to spring)
Hedychium coccineum (Butterfly lily)
Hemerocallis (Daylilies)
Heracleum villosum (Cow's parsnip)
Heuchera sanguinea (Coral bells)
Iris kaempferi (Japanese iris)
Monarda didyma (Bee balm )
Myosotis palustris (Forget-me-not)
Nicotiana (Flowering tobacco)
Primula (Primrose)
Pulmonaria saccharata (Lungwort)
Rehmannia elata (Beverly bells)
Rudbeckia hirta (Gloriosa daisy)
Silene caroliniana (Catchfly)
Torenia fournieri (Bluewings)
Trollius europaeus (Globe flower)
Vinca rosea (Periwinkle)
Viola tricolor (Pansy)

Hope these suggestions help you build a beautiful garden!

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