The Q&A Archives: shade garden in central florida

Question: I have an area from a back corner of my house where the ground slopes downward. Due to many trees nearby, the St. Augustine grass will not grow & thus I have lge empty areas I need help with a plan for a shade garden with taller plants or bushes near the house and then smaller items downward. I love anything flowering or even ornamental grasses that would grow in shade. I am on a budget too.

Answer: There are lots of shade loving plants. Here are a few of the best for your gardening region:
Begonia (Hardy Begonia) in white, pink or red flowers; Blue Sage (Eranthemum pulchellum, upright plant growing 3-5' with deep blue flowers in the winter; Flax Lily (Dianella tasmanica 'Variegata'), a clumping plant growing 1-2' tall and producing small blue flowers from winter through spring; Golden Shrimp Plant (Pachystachys lutea) with yellow flowers in the summer, grows 3-4'; Jacobinia (Justicia carnea), a 2-4' erect, bushy plant with rose or white flowers in the warm months; Jewels of Opar (Talinum paniculatum 'Variegata'), a pink flowering 3' tall, rounded upright growth habit; Leopard Plant (Farfugium japonicum) a yellow flowering ground covering plant. Most flowers in the fall and winter months; Peacock Ginger (Kaempferia species) grows up to 3' tall with lavender or white flowers in the spring and summer; Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus), a rounded shrub like plant to 4' with pale blue flowers in the winter; Pinks (Dianthus species), grows 6-18" and flowers in reds, pinks, or in white from fall through spring; St. Bernard's Lily (Anthericum liliago), an upright, clumping plant to two feet and produces white flowers year-round. You might also consider these Florida natives:
Florida Flame Azalea, Wild Coffee, Dward Pipestem, River Oats, Snowberry, Allspice,
Spicebush, White Anise, Tropical Sage, Scorpion's Tail, Leatherback Fern, Wild Columbine, and St Johns Wort.

Hope these suggestions inspire you!

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