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Just like humans, some plants like a lot of sun and others prefer to sit quietly in the shade. This is great news for gardeners as we all have that shady spot where nothing much grows and with just a little knowledge about How To Get The Best Out Of Shaded Areas you can find a solution.

Before planting it’s wise to assess the area and decide just how much shade you have. If you have less than three hours of direct sunlight in an area then it’s classed as full shade. Three to six hours and it’s partially shaded. It’s also worth considering our climate, our winters are cool but not frigid and our summers, although warmer of late, are considered to be warm but not scorching. Keen gardeners may find it useful to explore the RHS Zones, a system of hardiness ratings that enable you to assess the hardiness of garden plants.

What Does Shade Do?

Put simply it reduces the amount of sugar a plant produces to support its growth. Just like humans, plants like sugar for an energy boost and without it they just don’t grow or flower very well and usually die. Plants tend to avoid or tolerate shade, the avoiders will usually try and grow taller so they can get to light whilst the tolerators choose to adapt, growing thinner but broader leaves which raise their chlorophyll levels to compensate.

How Do You Work With Shade To Grow Plants Successfully?

There are few things to consider regarding How To Get The Best Out Of Shaded Areas:

Light Shade – mulching after planting will improve water retention and if you plant in autumn rather than the spring the plant has a better chance of establishing itself through the winter.

Partial Shade – Shade loving plants should grow happily here and you might even find that sun loving plants do too, although it’s important to note that they might not flower as well. A light mulch would be useful for plants in this area.

Dappled Shade – Shade loving plants will perform well here but may require some watering and you should consider your soil. It might be a good idea to improve the quality with farm manure, compost or leafmould.

Moderate Shade – shade tolerators will grow in this area but it is better to pick plants to grow for foliage rather than flowers. These areas can become dry or waterlogged and so you might want to consider using pots so you can control this a bit better. You could add a Begonia to a foliage pot as they do well in shade and can bring colour to this difficult area. The Begonia Peardrop is currently on offer as part of our 3 for 2 offers.

Deep Shade – this is serious stuff to plants and not much will thrive in this area. It is usually under conifers, leylandii and evergreen trees. Consider exploring climbers and wall shrubs in this area.

What Can I Do with Small Shaded Areas In My Garden?

Mix up your plants so you have a variety of colour and if you have an old tree stump or similar material, why not make a stumpery. You will need a selection of plants in a variety of sizes such as ferns and foxgloves and your stump which can be a tree stump, piece of hedge or even scrap wood if you have a suitable piece lying about.

Dig the area, adding compost or manure before placing your stump. The idea is to try and make it look as natural as possible so when planting add your ferns in all the little spaces you can find. Carefully place your foxgloves to provide height and interest to the area. This may help if you need a little inspiration – stumperies.

How To Get The Best Out Of Shaded Areas – What Do You Recommend?

There’s a lot to choose from, shaded areas need not be boring if considered and planned out. Our advice is to do your research first, on How To Get The Best Out Of Shaded Areas,  to avoid wasting a lot of money on plants that die because they were never suited to the space. We have a number of plants that would work well and we recommend exploring our website or getting in touch with a member of the team, we are always happy to answer any questions. Below are just a few of our suggestions:

The Heucherella loves partial shade and our Red Rover (Foamy Bells) offers a lovely deep lobbed foliage which in spring are a coppery-red with a deep burgundy centre changing to deep olive green when the weather gets warmer and spray of creamy white flowers over burgundy rose stems appear. Currently on offer as part of our 3 for 2 offers.

How To Get The Best Out Of Shaded Areas - plantsforshade

The Dicentra Gold Heart (Bleeding Heart) is a bright twist on a classic perennial and is happy in a shady border. It produces a radiant yellow foliage in early spring and as late spring approaches arching sprays of pink and white heart-shaped blooms dangle from the stems. Not in stock but you can request to be notified when they are ready.

Astilbe are easy to grow provided you plant them in a partially shaded spot in a soil that retains its moisture, but is free draining. They have a long flowering period and are prized for their attractive flower and foliage combinations. Astilbe ‘Freya’ has fluffy deep pink flower plumes that rise gracefully above the bronzy-green leaves. Currently on offer as part of our 4 for 3 offers.

Coleus are one of the easiest summer plants to grow. Water well to establish, and once settled they are somewhat drought tolerant and grow in most soils. As the leaves are so brightly coloured the sun can scorch them, so they do prefer a shaded area. The Kong Rose are cherry red at their centre, with maroon and green edges, which look great potted. Currently available as 2 for £16.

Hellebores come in a vast diversity of flower colours, boasting upright, showy flowers and strong stems. Despite their fantastic looks through winter, these perennials are quite low maintenance once established, and have a very long and late flowering period. They love partial shade and our Hellebore HGC® Camelot® :: Snow Rose flowers in early October giving you some autumn interest to your garden.

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