Containers forum: Container combo recommendations for a very shady area?

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Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
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ssgardener
Dec 21, 2011 10:07 AM CST
The shadiest part of my garden is right by the front door. It faces northeast but barely gets even morning sun due to my neighbor's trees and other structures. I would love something bright and colorful to cheer up the front entrance.

Do you have any recommendations for a container combination? I tried begonias, coleus, and impatiens this year, which all did really well, but New Zealand impatiens just kind of fizzled out after a few weeks. And the beautiful fuchsia couldn't handle the DC heat and eventually got root rot Sad

Because the area is so dark and the background is dark red brick, anything that's in the red/brown family (like red coleus) would get lost. I'm looking for bright, light colors and heavy blooms.

Also, I'm going to try wintersowing for the first time this year. Any shade plants I should try wintersowing?
Name: Paul
Utah (Zone 5b)
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Paul2032
Dec 21, 2011 10:40 AM CST
Use what has worked and continue to experiment. What about a hosta? Another possibility which is more work is to plant two containers and switch them periodically, keeping one in a little more light to keep it vigorous. More work but it gives you a larger choice.
Paul Smith Pleasant Grove, Utah
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Dec 21, 2011 11:21 AM CST
I don't know about the east coast weather but you might try some of the bright green heuchera such as , Lime Ricky, Lime Marmalade. There are even some heucherella that might work too. Ferns? Some of the Japanese painted ferns are nice.
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Name: Susan
Zone 5b (Zone 5b)

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gardenersdetective
Dec 21, 2011 12:53 PM CST
ssgardener said:The shadiest part of my garden is right by the front door. It faces northeast but barely gets even morning sun due to my neighbor's trees and other structures. I would love something bright and colorful to cheer up the front entrance.

Do you have any recommendations for a container combination? I tried begonias, coleus, and impatiens this year, which all did really well, but New Zealand impatiens just kind of fizzled out after a few weeks. And the beautiful fuchsia couldn't handle the DC heat and eventually got root rot Sad

Because the area is so dark and the background is dark red brick, anything that's in the red/brown family (like red coleus) would get lost. I'm looking for bright, light colors and heavy blooms.

Also, I'm going to try wintersowing for the first time this year. Any shade plants I should try wintersowing?


I like Fushia 'Gartenmeister' it's an upright fushia that is not the same as the ones used for hanging baskets (does great in my heat and humidity) and an Elephant ear Xanthosoma 'Lime Zinger' for the thriller with an orange or salmon colored new guinea impatience for the filler surounded by sedum 'ogon', and creeping jenny for the spiller. The bright orange/salmon with the chartreuse makes a wow statement from the street.

About EE's: Plant in mid-Spring when night temperatures are consistently above 50-55 degrees. Ears that favor aquatic conditions will also grow well in fertile, moist soil, as do all Alocasia, Colocasia and Xanthosoma. If you choose to pot your elephant ear, a large container is a good choice, a minimum of 18 inches across and just as deep. I’ve yet to meet an elephant ear that didn’t grow well in containers. I prefer a bark-based potting mix, and use Fafard Professional Mix, or Fafard # 51 or #52.

I recommend being heavy- handed with the compost, or well-rotted manure, since ears are heavy feeders and respond with fast and voluptuous growth when the summer heat kicks in. I also incorporate time-release fertilizer into the soil or potting soil such as osmocote, and apply a well-balanced liquid fertilizer like miracle grow, at half the recommended strength, once a week. This applies to in-ground and container plantings.

Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
Sedums Container Gardener Bulbs Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Region: Mid-Atlantic
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ssgardener
Dec 21, 2011 4:55 PM CST
Thank you all for your recommendations!

I didn't realize that elephant ears did well in the shade. I'm definitely going to try that this year! I think that'll look very striking in the front entrance.

Oops, I meant to say that New GUINEA, not New ZEALAND impatiens did not do very well for me. The regular impatiens did, so I'll try more of them this year. Maybe in the same container as the EE.

I planted Stoplight heucherella this year, but they didn't do very well in the ground. I'm going to try a different variety in containers.

Paul, I'm afraid I don't trust myself to move the containers around on a regular basis! Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Dec 21, 2011 7:32 PM CST

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Great suggestions Spring, Paul and Susan. Thumbs up
Here are a few more, different and fun plants.
Spiller http://www.plantdelights.com/Acalypha/products/29/
http://www.plantdelights.com/Bergenia/products/81/
http://www.plantdelights.com/Fuchsia/products/184/
http://www.plantdelights.com/Titanotrichum/products/369/
Silver Spring, MD (Zone 7a)
Sedums Container Gardener Bulbs Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Region: Mid-Atlantic
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ssgardener
Dec 21, 2011 8:03 PM CST
OOOHHH, Lynn, that Woodland foxglove is gorgeous! Sticking tongue out Drooling

There's no way I would have come across these interesting shade plants without all of your help! Sometimes, to a newbie, there is just too much information on line, and it can feel overwhelming. I really appreciate your help in narrowing down my choices! Hurray! Hooray for ATP!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 21, 2011 8:10 PM CST

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I love trying new things. In fact when I found the Gold Woodland Foxglove, it made me think I might try it this coming spring. Thumbs up
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Dec 22, 2011 4:21 AM CST
Great ntip Paul.

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