Bonnie F
Bonnie F
  • Hometalker
  • Atlanta, GA
Asked on Mar 21, 2012

Shade loving plants??

Bonnie F360 Sod (Donna Dixson)Erica Glasener
+3

Answered

I'm getting ready to start on my outdoor area so I need to pick everyone's brains. I have a bottom level condo with a really good sized outdoor area, but the problem is that there is presently nothing but gravel and a couple of bushes that are mostly dead. The way my area is situated only a small part of it gets about 2 hours of morning sun. For the most part it is shaded all day. I need advice on some shade loving plants. I would like to put in a couple of small trees, some bushes and grasses, perennials, and some annuals. I love flower plants and I want to draw birds and butterflies. I am planning to do a small water feature. I'm in Atlanta.
6 answers
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Mar 21, 2012

    That's a substantial amount of shade, Bonnie, but I'm sure you can turn it into an area that is as inviting to you as it is to birds and butterflies. I think you might get the most bang-from-your-buck with a couple of the larger cultivars of oakleaf hydrangea, like "Alice," rather than small trees, although pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) would work as well. Mapleleaf viburnum (Vibunum aceriforlium) will take a good deal of shade and viburnums in general are one of the best plants out there for attracting birds and butterflies. In terms of perennials, a combination of hellebores, heuchera and Japanese anemone would bring you a long season of blooms. Also consider ferns, Solomon's seal and epimediums.

  • White Pine Land Studio, LLC
    on Mar 21, 2012

    The one think that you didn't mention was whether or not the area was wet. That can make a HUGE difference in a shady area. Douglas has some good ideas for you. I'm a big proponent of mixed Fern and Hosta beds using both native and exotic ferns for a wonderful mix of different sizes, colors and textures. Since you're in Atlanta, you may want to swing by Georgia Perimeter College and take a stroll through their fern garden. George Sanko up there has a world class collection of shade plants. I doubt you're going to get any ornamental grasses to grown in that location, most of those are full sun animals. Depending on the soil, you might get Daphne to grow (which is a little finicky but smells AMAZING). A good go-to shrub for shade is Japanese Pieris, which will bloom white in winter, and loves some good shade. You might also want to look at some of the newer cultivars of Aucuba such as 'Picturata' for a backdrop planting.

  • Erica Glasener
    on Mar 21, 2012

    For grasses try Carex 'Evergold' (really a sedge) but colorful and should do well. For perennials, Hellebores, the native Christmas fern, hostas need regular and consistent moisture to do well. Shrubs, Anise (Illicium parviflorum) I like Doug's suggestion for oakleaf hydrangea.

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  • Bonnie F
    on Mar 21, 2012

    Thanks for all the great suggestions. The area is well drained so it does not stay wet.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Mar 22, 2012

    I like the Anise Henryi or the Mexican Anise for shade. The mountain laurel 'Pristine' is really nice too! I fell in love with a Hosta today (will get a picture to post tomorrow )called 'Fire Island'. Chartreuse leaves with red veins. Depending on your space a great shade tree would be the Japanese Maple 'Orange Dream' . You could add in some Toad lily and Heuchera's, Astilbe,Bleeding Heart, Foam Flower, Brunnera, Lamium. Annuals - of course impatiens (my favorites are the doubles and the stripey leafed New Guinea ones) & Coleus.

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  • Bonnie F
    on Mar 22, 2012

    Thanks. Good suggestions. That Hosta sounds beautiful!

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