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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    34

    Default Plant suggestions for shady areas

    I have a lot of shady areas in my yard. One is near the house where I would love to establish some sort of ground cover. I have tried a few different types of plants in this area over the years but they only seem to last a month or two. There were shrubs in this area but we pulled them all out when we painted the house. The area only gets dappled sunlight most of the day with maybe some direct sunlight during mid day. Advice on what type of plant to try next?

    I am also looking for advice on what to do about perennial plants that have been fading over the past few seasons. The area had formerly been filled with weeds, shrubs, small trees. We ripped out all the small stuff, left several of the big trees and put down wood chips (because the area had been prone to flooding in the spring) and bark mulch. On the outer edge of the area we put down loam so that we could have plants around the edge of the area. The area gets sun for the first half of the day and part of the afternoon. We run a soaker hose around the plants. Any advice on how to revive these plants? Also, advice on what to add to the shadier edges? I have hostas in some areas. I'm thinking lilly of the valley in some areas but would like some bigger plants as well. I do have a deer problem so no tasty plants please. Lost all my tulips one year to deer and/or bunnies so gave them up.

    Forgot to mention that I am in the northeast.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,694

    Default Re: Plant suggestions for shady areas

    Go to local garden shops and pick their brains - talk to people who know, not to people who guess - they will have all the answers for what does well in your area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Plant suggestions for shady areas

    I have gone to the local garden shops and picked their brains. That's where I went for the initial plants. I had maybe 50% success rate with the plants that I bought there. Having 50% of those plants die was an expensive lesson. Since that time I've opted for more of an experimental method on finding the right plant. I do some research then try to find the plants at a good price. I totally admit that I don't have a green thumb and our yard has a lot of challenges for any plant.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,667

    Default Re: Plant suggestions for shady areas

    Many plants have trouble with wet feet including azalea, rhododendron, dogwoods, hemlocks, etc. I'm not too familiar with plants that like it wet. Holly's don't mind it wet.
    Good prep of the soil helps, but not too much. Add a little compost, and organic fertilizer. Always plant the shrub higher than it surrounding surface because the soil will settle. Be diligent about watering. A new plant drying out once in the heat of summer may kill it. A couple inches of mulch will help keep it from drying out.
    Conversely, too much water can kill many plants too.
    Unseasoned wood chips can take the nitrogen out of the soil and can release alcohol when it breaks down which doesn't help plants.
    If the perennials have the proper conditions fertilizer should help. I tend to like organics like Planttone or Gardentone. A shot of liquid fertilizer won't hurt. No liquid sunshine if the trees have grown and are now shading the plants.
    Lily of the valley is on my weed list, but it seems to grow in poor conditions.
    The dappled sun area sound like it would support azaleas or rhodys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Plant suggestions for shady areas

    I live in the northeast as well. We have some shady areas around the house as we sit on a large, heavily-wooded lot; I've taken many trees down and we have plenty of sunlight but I like the play of sunlight and shade.

    In some areas I've planted hosta, which don't mind the shade at all. In other areas I've transplanted Cinnamon Ferns from the woods in back of the house - they look amazing, are deer-proof, and require almost no maintenance. Also, if you were looking for something that would act as a ground cover and would spread on its own, you could try Hay-Scented ferns. They're delicate, bright green, and will spread over a wide area if you need them to do so.
    Last edited by seboeis; 05-20-2014 at 08:48 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Plant suggestions for shady areas

    Almost forgot:

    -the Cinnamon ferns like it where it's wet. If you decide to plant them, make sure you amend the soil with plenty of compost and peat.

    -we've also planted some Sweet Woodruff because it's a shade-loving, deer-proof ground cover.

    Good luck!

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