Too Much Shade - Knowledgebase Question

downey, ca
Question by markhue
February 26, 2006
We have a very shady corner in our yard, some is due to the neighbors trees. We have a 6 ft. brick wall that needs to be covered or hidden. Can you recommend a wall climbing vine or large shrub that will survive a heavily shaded corner? Also what type of ground cover or shrub would tolerate a heavily shaded area? Are there any grasses that will live in heavy shade? thanks alot


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Answer from NGA
February 26, 2006

0

Shady spots can be difficult because the degree of shade will dictate the types of plants you can grow. Deep shade is a problem, but most of the following plants will adapt:
Ajuga, Carpetweed, Bugleweed (Arjuga reptans)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
4 inches tall, flower spikes to 12 inches
Semi-evergreen foliage ranges from solid green to variegated green, white and burgundy/red. Flower color is usually blue or purple, but some pink or white forms are available. The closely related (A. pyramidalis) 'Metallica Crispa' has bronze foliage and blue flowers in spring.

Bethlehem sage, Lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharata)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
1 to 1/2 foot tall
Rosettes of straplike leaves, most varieties with some silvery mottling. 'Mrs. Moon' is a good variety. Pink flower buds open to blue flowers in spring.

Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
6 to 12 inches tall to 50 feet in length
Native vine with three-lobed leaves. Similar in growth habit and requirements to Virginia creeper. Lustrous green leaves turn red in fall.

Common periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Shade tolerance
Light to medium
Size
6 inches tall
Vining, matlike evergreen groundcover. Glossy green leaves. Blue flowers in spring and sporadically through the summer. Grows well under trees.

English ivy (Hedera helix)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
6 to 12 inches tall
Trailing evergreen vine. Prune or mow annually to maintain density. Many selections available. Leafspot can be a problem. Grows well under trees.

Epimedium, Barrenwort (Epimedium )sp
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
Most are 1 to 1-1/2 feet tall
Heart-shaped trifoliate leaves, often with some red or bronze coloration. Flowers in spring are usually yellow or white, resembling small orchids. Relatively slow growing.

Hosta, Plantain lily (Hosta sp)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium to full
Size
Varies from 3 inches to 3 feet tall
Many species and cultivars of hosta are available. Foliage colors range from solid green, yellow-green or blue-green to variegated forms with white or gold markings. Many produce stalks of white to lavender flowers. Tolerate most growing conditions.

Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis)
Shade tolerance
Light to medium
Size
8 to 10 inches tall
Glossy green, semi-evergreen foliage. White flowers in spring.

Lily-of-the-Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
8 inches tall
Fragrant stalks of white bell-shaped flowers in late spring. Foliage may deteriorate late in the season. Prefers moist, fertile sites, but tolerates most shady locations.

Lilyturf (Liriope spicata)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
1 foot tall
Dark green, grasslike foliage. White to lavender flower spikes similar to grape hyacinths develop in late summer. (L. muscari,) Big blue lilyturf grows to 1-1/2 feet tall and produces dark purple flowers.

Mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
6 inches tall
Semi-evergreen trailing foliage. Rampant grower. Yellow blossoms through much of the summer, followed by strawberry-like fruits. Tolerates drought and heat.

Plumbago, Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)
Shade tolerance
Light to medium
Size
12 inches tall
Deep blue flowers from midsummer through fall. Yellow, red and bronze fall foliage contrasts nicely with flowers. Slow to start growth in spring.

Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum)
Shade tolerance
Medium to full
Size
6 to 8 inches tall
Whorls of bright green leaves around creeping stems. Small white flowers in late spring. Prefers moist soil.

Virginia creeper, Woodbine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
1 foot tall to 50 feet long
Tough vine for most any situation. Will climb to tree tops. Colors early in the fall, developing a red or purplish coloration. Engelmann ivy is similar, but with smaller leaves.

Wild ginger (Asarum canadense)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
6 inches tall
Deciduous, heart-shaped, leathery green leaves. Flowers are purplish brown in spring, but usually hidden by leaves. European ginger, A. europaeum is evergreen with glossy foliage.

Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
1/2 to 2 feet tall
Vining woody semi-evergreen groundcover. Many cultivars are available: 'Coloratus' turns purple in winter, 'Emerald Gaiety' has variegated white leaf margins, 'Emerald and Gold' is variegated green and yellow. Scale insects can be a severe problem.

Yellow archangel, Dead nettle (Lamiastrum galeobdolon)
Shade tolerance
Light, medium or full
Size
1 to 1-1/2 feet tall
Fast-growing vinelike groundcover. The form with silver variegation is most desirable. Yellow flowers in late spring. Shear in midsummer for more compact growth.

Hope some of these suggested plants are just right for your garden.

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