Shade plants in So. Calif. - Knowledgebase Question

Whittier, Ca
Question by bookwyrm22
June 2, 2010
I am in Southern California with a plot of direct measuring 3-5 feet (it's irregular) by 20-25 feet long. It's in the shade due to nearby trees, but not directly under the trees, and gets plenty of water. I would like three levels of plants: tall in the back, medium and shorter in the front. What do you suggest? I'd love to get color in there. Thanks so much.

Answer from NGA
June 2, 2010


I like your idea! Try some of the following shade loving plants: 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" Oxalis oregona (Wood Sorrel) Wet or dry shade. Spring/summer flowers. 2? 6" Vancouveria hexandra (Inside-out Flower) grows in sun to shade; flowers in spring. 4? 16" Adiantum pedatum (aleuticum), called Maidenhair Fern. Grows best in moist shade. Deciduous. Delicate, lacy fronds. 12?30". Astilbe 'Glow', An Arendsii hybrid, 'Glow' has dark red buds opening to multihued rose-red blossoms in panicles on 30" stems in early-mid summer. Foliage is quite bronze early in the season, becoming more green with summer's warm temps. Astilbe appreciate evenly moist soil conditions. Actaea 'Hillside Black Beauty' this selection of "Bugbane" or "Fairy Candles" forms 1-2' clumps of dark chocolate colored foliage. 4-6' stems carrying wands of creamy white fragrant flowers appear in late summer and early fall. Plant near light colored or brilliant gold Hosta to really set off the dark foliage. Anemone japonica Honorine Jobert' White single blossoms with yellow centers on sturdy 3' stems bring grace to the garden in late-summer and early autumn. Aquilegia vulgaris' Leprechaun Gold, Aquilegia, commonly known as Columbine, delights in late spring with its charming spurred blossoms. What I like about 'Leprechaun Gold', besides its dark violet flowers, is its colorful green splashed gold foliage. Campanula persicifolia 'La Belle' produces loose racemes of sky blue old fashioned roses on 2' stems. Hope these suggestions are helpful.

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