Last week we looked at some easy to grow plants for late summer to fall colour for the sunny garden. Today lets look at some choices for shade. Most of you have probably used Impatiens in your garden over the years. Last year Impatiens were hit with a fungus called downy mildew. If you noticed that they were not being sold this spring, that’s why. Once you have downy mildew it stays in your soil for up to ten years. You can still plant the New Guinea Impatiens as the fungus does not affect them. You know your Impatiens have the fungus when all of a sudden the leaves turn yellow and fall off leaving the plant looking awful.
I like this tough perennial in my shade garden. This is Ligularia dentata with its bright yellow flowers in late summer. This plant loves a site from part to full shade. It loves damp soil so be sure to keep it evenly moist. It grows to three feet high and wide.
The flowers are just icing on the cake as Ligularia dentata has huge leaves and reddish stems making a bold statement next to finer leaved plants.
I love Hostas and can’t get enough of them . Using Hostas with bright white edging or ones with golden tones in the leaves will add colour to your shade garden. Try using white in a dark corner to really add some light.
Try hardy Fuchsia for long-lasting colour from late summer to frost. The dainty bell-like flowers come in all different colours. Be sure to check the ultimate size of your plant as they can grow to five feet high and as wide. Give this plant room to grow and I guarantee it will be a show stopper all season.
When I moved into my home, our front garden was bordered by a huge hedge making the shade garden very dark. I planted Aucuba or gold dust plant which is a shrub growing to as high as ten feet. The glossy gold speckled leaves look nice against the dark green hedge.
I think Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ is one of the top must have plants for the garden. If given too much sun its leaves will turn brown so it likes a home in dappled shade to full shade. In spring, this plant sends out forget-me-not like blue flowers. Once the flowers are finished, cut the flowering stems off and watch the leaves grow bigger each week. This plant is lovely paired with Hostas in the shade garden.
Tovara or Persicaria is a plant that will grow in dry or wet shade and doesn’t mind some sun. Its one tough plant. A word of caution, its tiny red flowers in fall will self sow but the baby plants are easily removed. Once again, its flowers are insignificant as its grown mainly for its striking foliage. The chocolate-brown markings look like they were painted on with a few strokes from a paint brush.
For a touch of class look around for Kirengeshoma or yellow wax flower. Its hardy here on the west coast of BC. This year my plant is at least three feet high and wide and the buds are just forming. When everything else is starting to fade this plant takes the stage. It loves part to full shade and medium watering. I must admit this shade garden of mine has only been watered once this season and the plants are doing well.
Of course, how could I forget Pansies and Violas? In September they start to arrive at the garden centers so grab them when you see them. Plant them early so you can enjoy them before frost arrives. Yes, you may still have some annuals in the garden but try to make room for some Pansies. I like to plant them above spring bulbs. When I plant Tulips or Daffodils, I place a Pansy nearby. Its a reminder for me to watch for new spring bulbs emerging.