Ask a Question forum: Shade Plants

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Name: Tom Wakula
Jan 24, 2014 4:29 PM CST
We have a huge Shagbark Hickory Tree on the North side of our home which is also where our deck off the house is and we spend a great deal of time there. I seem to be stuck as to what types of plants will grow under this tree. I have several Ferns which do well, Hosta's also do quite well. A few Bleeding Hearts, and Boxwood on the outer edges of the shade. Rhododendron's don't do well in complete shade. It really doesn't get more than an hour or two of sunshine in the early morning and that is it. I would guess that the area of complete shade is 14 feet x 30 feet. Also there is a six foot high solid fence next to the tree which blocks light from that direction.

What kinds of plants can anyone recommend that will give color and texture?

Name: Ken Ramsey
Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
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Jan 24, 2014 5:04 PM CST
Many of the bromeliads will do well and IF they get a couple of hours of early morning sun, that's a bonus. The only problem is that they are tropical and would have to be moved inside during the cold months.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Jan 24, 2014 5:27 PM CST
Toad Lily - Tricyrtis
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[Last edited by jmorth - Jan 24, 2014 5:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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Jan 24, 2014 8:12 PM CST
Welcome to ATP, Tom.

There are many plants and planting options that might work for you. Posting sunny day pictures of the area taken in mid-afternoon, and in as many seasons as possible, would really help to provide us with an overview of the quality and quantity of light available. Also, are you interested in annuals, bulbs or container plants, too, or do your interests mainly lean toward in-ground perennial plants?

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Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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Jan 25, 2014 11:41 AM CST

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Hi Tom, how committed to watering the area are you?
Many spring blooming bulbs will do well for a short lived blast of color.
Lily Of The Valley (Convallaria majalis) for a dry (or wet) shade groundcover, also European Wild Ginger (Asarum europaeum).

Try a Choose your characterists: search. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Tolerates dry shade under Miscellaneous. Lots of great plants there for Ithaca. If you want to limit yourself to perennials select perennials next to Life cycle, etc.
[Last edited by eclayne - Jan 25, 2014 11:42 AM (+)]
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Name: Tom Wakula
Jan 25, 2014 5:27 PM CST
Hey All,

Thanks for the responses. I need to work through all suggestions to see the options available to me. Currently it is Winter in New York, so I am just trying to get ideas for my garden when the planting season arrives which will be around May.
Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
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Jan 25, 2014 8:31 PM CST
You have one really good thing going for you, Tom: it's a hickory. They don't have the shallow roots that make gardening under a tree much more difficult.

Other plants you could grow:
Japanese Forest grass (Hakonechloa macra)
Dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata)
spring woodland wildflowers like Cardamine(Dentaria) species, Claytonia virginica, Thalictrum species, Uvularia grandiflora
Name: Tom Wakula
Jan 25, 2014 9:28 PM CST
With all the suggestions I am getting, I will have a wide range of plants to choose from. Of course, finding them in my area may be a challenge. There are no nurseries close by, but I don't mind traveling if I can find what I want. So this spring may be a busy and challenging time for me. Will be worth it.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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Jan 25, 2014 11:49 PM CST
Hello @tonytom and welcome to ATP. Glad you joined us and hope you are staying warm enough.
Once the weather warms up and it's safe to send plants in the mail, you can post some requests in 'Plant and Seed Trading' for specific plants. We have such a varied group of gardeners, someone is sure to have what you are looking for or at least steer you in the right direction to locate the plants.

All I can suggest is variegated hosta, but here is a link with more suggestions:
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"

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