The Q&A Archives: Plants For Deep Shade

Question: I have an area in my yard that gets no direct sunlight and very little light at all. This is an area where I have a couple of hostas that live but do not bloom. I'm looking for low plants such as ground covers, perennials or shrubs that may survive in these conditions. Any recommendations?

Answer: Unfortunately, very few plants will thrive in extreme shade, expecially if it is also dry and/or the soil is poor. In addition to the many forms sizes and colors of hosts, some low ground cover plants to consider would be English ivy and pachysandra. These are evergreen and grow relatively quickly. Another possibility would be epimedium, which is deciduous and slower growing, but will bloom in spring and eventually provide a nice foliage cover during the growing season. All three of these are "survivors" once established.For best results, the soil should be loosened and prepared with ample added organic matter and the plants should be watered as needed to supplement rainfall during the first year. Unfortunately, I am unable to think of any low growing shrubs that would truly grow well under such apparently dark conditions. Good luck with your project!

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