Plants for sunny area that receives roof runoff. - Knowledgebase Question

Plymouth, MI
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Question by Varner5
March 24, 2011
We have a 1920's Bungalow with no gutters. Therefore, plants underneath the shed roof runoff get matted. I need a hardy shrub for full sun, with moisture and some perennials and annuals for full sun with no moisture, all in one bed. HELP!

Answer from NGA
March 24, 2011
There are several shrubs for you to consider:

Alpine Currant (Ribes Alpinum) grows in full sun or full shade and is hardy in zones 2-7. Alpine currant is a very popular plant for a number of reasons. It is very cold hardy and adaptable to a variety of conditions. It responds very well to frequent shearing to maintain a neat appearance and it is quite disease resistant. Glossy, dark green leaves always look lush and healthy. Currant prefers moist well drained soil, but will tolerate dryness and alkaline soil, and is very tolerant of wind. Growth habit it naturally somewhat mounded with slightly horizontal branching. Male and female plants must be present to produce bright red, midsummer fruit. Most retail cultivars are male and will not produce fruit. Grows somewhat slowly, so shearing for a hedge is kept to a minimum. Will reach 3-5 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide. ?Green Mound? is somewhat smaller, reaching about 3 feet tall and wide.

Barberry (Barberis thunbergii) There are many varieties, but in general they prefer full sun to part shade and are hardy in zones 4-8. In shade, the purple cultivars will be more green. Japanese Barberry tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and will tolerate windy areas. Because of their small compact growing habit they work well for foundation plantings, borders and specimen plants. The varieties that get a little larger work well for hedging and thorny barriers. Deer and rabbits will generally leave these thorny bushes alone. Most barberry bear fruits/seeds, which has been causing a problem. The seeds are spread widely by birds to the point that they barberry have become invasive, crowding out native species. Those that produce few or no seeds are: ?Concorde?, ?Bonanza Gold?, ?Kobold? and ?Gold Nugget?. For a smaller version, 'Crimson Pygmy? (Berberis thunbergii atropupurea ?Crimson Pygmy?) Full sun to part shade Hardy in zones 4-7 is widely used in the north because of it?s compact, mounded shape and beautiful deep burgundy red foliage. It grows to only 2 feet high and 2-3 feet wide, so it works well in small spaces or tucked in around other plantings, adding a nice contrast to greenery. In shade the foliage is a lighter red to green. Small spring flowers are barely noticed, and fruit develops that remains through the winter. ?Crimson Pygmy has small thorns.

A final suggestion is Bridalwreath (Spiraea x vanhouttei) is another super hardy, large flowering shrub with distinct arching branches. It grows 6-8 feet and spreads to 12 feet and is covered with white blooms in spring. Full sun produces the most flowers, but will grow well in some shade. Prune it back (up to one third) every year after blooming for best blooming next year. Will adapt to most soils, but prefers well drained. The leaves turn plum-green in fall.

As for annuals and perennials, I'd choose those that are listed as drought tolerant. They do well in dry soil and full sunshine. Some of the best include Asclepias tuberosa - Butterflyweed; Agastache foeniculum - Anise hyssop; Amsonia spp. - Amsonia; Artemisia spp. - Artemisia; Aster spp. - Asters; Baptisia australis - False blue indigo; Centauria montana - Perennial bachelor?s button; Coreopsis spp.- Coreopsis; Dianthus spp. - Pinks; Echinacea purpurea - Purple cone flower; Echinops ritro - Globe thistle; Erygium spp. - Sea holly; Euphorbia sp. - Spurge; Gaillardia spp. - Blanket flower; Geranium macchrorhizum - Bigroot geranium; Helleborus sp. ? Hellebores; Hemerocallis spp. ? Daylily; Hibiscus moscheutos - Common mallow; Iris sibirica - Siberian iris; Lavendula angustifolia -Lavender; Liatris spp. - Gay feather; Nepeta spp. - Catmint; Paeonia sp. - Peony; Perovskia atriplicifolia - Russian sage; Phlox spp.- Phlox; Rudbeckia spp. - Black-eyed Susan; Salvia spp. - Sage; Sedum spp. - Sedum; Sempervirens tectorum - Hens and chicks; Stachys byzantina - Lamb= ears; Stokesia laevis - Stokes aster; Thymus spp. - Thyme; Verbascum spp. - Mullein; and Yucca spp. - Yucca.

Hope these suggestions are helpful!

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