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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Kinds of Shade and Selecting Plants to Grow in Shade
 
On March 6, I spoke at the Culver City Garden Club. What a great group of gardeners. The President of the club, Larry Ebner, brought in a blooming corn plant that was found in the library. None of us had ever seen one blooming. The plant was getting the perfect amount of reflected light.  The fragrance reminded me of my Cattleya orchid when it blooms.  So I decided to write about plants that thrive in shade.
 
Types of Shade:
 
Full Shade:  Occurs under thick evergreen trees and north -facing overhangs. Also in some patios, atriums, and covered porches. This is the most difficult kind of shade (some reflected light helps!) When the ground gets wet in these areas, it stays wet (unless there are lots of tree roots.) If area to be planted is under eaves of house, many times this area is not watered enough. 
 
Since most shade plants like acid soil, it is wise to remove and replace the soil in these areas with acid soil amendments. Cover the bare ground with a mulch or ground cover (like Scottish Moss.)  It's fun to add color to these areas with potted plants placed in the ground. Design is important in these areas. Bromeliads are great to use here. Install lights for accent.
  • Plants to Use in Full Shade: Kentia palm (Howea fosterana),  Japanese aralia (Fatsia japonica), fatshera (Fatshedera lizei), Japanese aucuba (Acuba japonica), monstera; philodendron, corn plant (Dracaena marginata), and aspidistra ("cast iron plant"), leather-leaf fern (Rumohra adiantiformis), sword fern (Polystichum munitum), asparagus fern, liropes, mondo grass. baby tears (Soleirolia soleirolii), small-leafed ivy, cryptanthus, and clivia (in reflected light).

Filtered Shade: Sometimes found under an open-branched tree. Mosty found inside a structure. This is great for most shade plants. Plants stay cool and comfortable.

  • Plants to use in filtered shade: All shade plants! Camellias, azaleas, bromeliads, all ferns (including staghorn ferns), fuchsias, epiphyllums, all orchids that can grow outdoors, tuberous begonias, and coleus.

Next month, I will describe East-Facing, West-Facing,  North-Facing  and South Facing Partial Shade. Stay Tuned!

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All articles and photos unless otherwise credited are© by Elaine Wilson.
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 Creating beautiful, alternative, sustainable landscapes. Low-water usage plants chosen for hardiness and harmony  with an emphasis on airborne and soil toxin removal .
 
 
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