The Q&A Archives: help for dry soil

Question: hi i am planning a small flower garden..(just across the front of the shrubs) the soil is very dry..sun light is dappled..and we would like constant color from now until fall..i would like to plant perennials and fill in with annuals..maybe a budge of $100 or so

Answer: It is difficult to grow plants in dry soil and in dry shade. If the cause of the dry soil is tree roots, you may have a difficult time planting there. However, adding organic matter to the soil will help it hold moisture longer, so I would suggest you begin by doing that. Using an organic mulch year round will reduce watering needs and also adds organic matter to the soil over time as it slowly breaks down, too. Some perennials to consider would include hostas (look for a variety of foliage patterns and colors and shapes and sizes to add visual interest) along with lamium, pulmonaria, dicentra, and heuchera. This will give you flowers from spring through midsummer. For all season color you would need to grow annuals such as impatiens. Impatiens does well in dappled light but needs evenly moist soil, so I would suggest planting them in a container where you can keep the soil evenly damp. Concentrating the annuals in one spot -- such as all in one larger container -- also increases their visual impact. I hope this gives you some ideas, enjoy your new garden!

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