Asked on Jun 16, 2013

Need ideas on mostly shade flowers. I used to plant impatiens but hear

RedcatcecShore grandmomJan Grose Martindale


they often have a disease these days. The only sun these will get is some in the afternoon. I want something fairly low-maintenance. The bare dirt space you see in the pictures was monkey grass for many years but yesterday I dug it up in an attempt to make things look neater, "de-jungle" my yard a bit, and make it less tempting to snakes. I haven't seen any, but keep hearing stories of copperheads so want to do what I can to disinterest them if I can. I could just put tree mulch here, but thought summer flowers -- if it's not too late to plant them -- would look nice. Even colorful foliage plants might be nice. Suggestions? This is next to my mailbox, which you can see part of.
The soil here was all liriope until yesterday. Still have lots more digging to do.
Almost the same view.
View from the opposite direction.
16 answers
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Jun 17, 2013

    Louise, the closest replacement plant for the common impatien would be the New Guinea impatien. Coleus would give you wonderfully colorful foliage, although no flowers. If you want something perennial, I would consider a mixed planting of astilbe and Japanese anemone. Or heuchera, which I believe you have elsewhere in your garden, and it's always nice to repeat things.

  • Louise
    on Jun 17, 2013

    Thanks. I'll look into these.

  • Annie Stuart
    on Jun 18, 2013

    I have a shade garden in zone 5 up here in New England. I have Hostas, Iris, primrose, balloon flower, columbine, bleeding heart, and dianthus. Vinca (aka periwinkle) makes a nice glossy green groundcover and it has pretty purple flowers.

  • Maggievanfossan
    on Jun 18, 2013

    It's my understanding that impatiens are coming back. A virus/disease?? spread and killed the supply at the nurseries. If you can find them at your garden center you can plant them. They were off the market for awhile, but are back now.

  • Maggievanfossan
    on Jun 18, 2013

    My shade garden is huecheras, hostas, ferns, astilbe, coleus

  • Teresa A
    on Jun 18, 2013

    Gee, your photo looks like a portion of my yard! I wanted to find something that was a bit more permanent than planting an annual like imps. I found Ajuga reptans or "Bugleweed", a perennial ground cover which does grow in the sun or shade at a local supplier. I selected the "Bronze Beauty" variety of the plant. One plant will spread to 12 inches, it grows about 6 inches high and flowers little blue-purple flowers in May and June. I did read it is invasive, and grows so thick weeds don't grow through it. Lots of herbs are shade tolerate and perennial which gives nice year interest. Good luck!

  • Nancy Hand
    on Jun 18, 2013

    I like the coleus idea. They would be pretty right by your mail box.

  • Marilyn
    on Jun 20, 2013

    Try the perennial "goose neck". It has small white flowers that drape down. Very pretty.

  • Yvonne McKinley
    on Jun 20, 2013

    Impatients seem to be fine here in Zone 6. Last year there was an air-borne disease that wiped out most of them, but they seem to be doing fine so far this year. I also have Hosta, Astilbe, Coral Bells, and Feather Fern.

  • Sue
    on Mar 14, 2015

    I swear by Hosta and there is so many varieties. Very little maintenance. I don't know how you keep snakes out except maybe by putting coffee grounds in and around your plants.

    • Sp28274349
      on Mar 8, 2018

      Love hosta, especially mixed with periwinkle. Both are perennials with almost no maintenance. Keep out the slugs (which love hosta) with simple cornmeal and the snakes prefer pine needles so I do a combo of mulch with eggshells.
  • Sarah
    on Jun 22, 2016

    I just sprayed my yard with a snake repellent it doesn't kill the snakes it says it will make them leave, also I scattered some snake repellent. I love the ground cover that was posted I had a ground cover that was beautiful with purple flowers it is very aggressive grower. This is a good place for a snake to hide, I was afraid I may step on one. If you have copperheads I would try to spray area too, they are poison. I also am trying to get rid of overgrown shrubs, a snake was coiled up in the top of one of mine. I constantly have garter snakes which I am terrified of. If you like hostas they love shade with a little sun, I have lots of them. Good luck with your plantings there are some great ideas on here. Love home talk!!

  • Lori Jackson
    on Jun 22, 2016

    Why not both mulch and flowers? I have a similar side yard, though the snake threat is not much of an issue (thankfully). I do have a ground cover (snow on the mountain), but if I had to pick between it and choice there for this chicken. I use containers. They are great for shade gardens because you can study your light patterns. Even in my mostly deep shade garden, there are patches where I get enough light for geraniums and even zinnias. I have also heard the rumors about impatiens, but I haven't had any issues with them.

    , This is my side garden
  • Debbie/Dragonfly Treasure
    on Jul 3, 2016

    I needed the same thing! Wanted perennials so I wouldn't have to replant next year. I just bought heuchera and astilbe. Good luck with what you decide

  • Jan Grose Martindale
    on Mar 8, 2018

    Here in SW Gulf Coast FL, Hostas & Bromeliads are often planted at the bases of oaks & Banyan trees because of the inherent shade. Some also mix in Begonias.
  • Shore grandmom
    on Mar 8, 2018

    I love vinca flowers (not the vine), they are my go to flower! They look similar to impatients. They really hold up for me and it doesn't matter about sun or shade, they grow great everywhere. For me, impatients get very leggy and begonias rot. Good luck and happy planting.
  • Redcatcec
    on Mar 8, 2018

    Myrtle is an excellent ground cover and also a perennial.
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