What to plant? Heavy shade. South Florida - Knowledgebase Question

Miramar, Fl
Question by rft2fl
April 10, 2010
I'm trying to find something that I can plant under a tree that flowers in a small flower bed that I created. The area would be mostly shaded and has leaves that drop down in the area. I live in South Florida between MIA and FLL. Any suggestions? Thanks

Answer from NGA
April 10, 2010


The evergreen groundcover epimedium thrives in shade and this one is a tidy clumper, good for squeezing into crowded gardens. Its flowers are a combination of purple and white, and the new spring foliage is becomingly flushed with red. Cornus canadensis (unalaschkensis) Bunchberry; Partial to full shade, humus-rich soil. Spring flowers; bright red berries in summer. Grows 2"-10". Gaultheria ovatifolia (Slender Wintergreen); Adaptable, best in moist shade and acid soil. Flowers in late spring to summer. Evergreen. 4?8" tall. Linnaea borealis (Twinflower) Partial to full shade. Late spring flowers. Low (1") evergreen. Spreads readily by stolons. False Lily-of-the-Valley; Moist shade to partial shade. Spring flowers. Plant only where you want it to spread! 3? 12". Vancouveria hexandra (Inside-out Flower) grows in sun to shade; flowers in spring. 4? 16".

Coral bells (Heuchera) provide some of the best foliage colors. They can be grown in all garden situations, but are valuable for dry shade such as under your tree. Coral bells can stand alone, act as companion plants, or be massed as a ground-cover. Because they are semi-evergreen they will compliment the garden in spring, summer and fall. They may go dormant in winter but will bounce back in early spring. They are one of the first plants to wake up, and will bloom with the violets and the primrose. The foliage is nearly round and sometimes ruffled. The most popular coral bells are those with red to purple foliage. 'Amethyst Myst' has purple leaves with silver veins. A green-leaved variety, 'Blood Red,' has vibrant red flowers. There are some with unusual foliage colors, for instance 'Lime Rickey' has chartreuse leaves and 'Amber Waves' has peach foliage. Coral bells can have white, pink or red flower clusters. The blooms are held 1 to 2 feet above the low-growing foliage.

Hope you find just the right plant for your flower bed!

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