Five favourites - plants for shade
Flo Headlam shares her five favourite plants for shade
There’s something very reassuring about shady parts of the garden, these spaces are cool, restful, and allow you to slow down. Shady areas need not be problematic, there are plenty of gorgeous plants that thrive in shade.
- Flo Headlam's top tips for growing in shade
- The best shade-loving plants
- 12 plants for partial shade
- 11 hardy geraniums for shade
- Best shrubs to grow in shade
I’m a big fan of bold foliage and fatsias are not shy. Fatsia japonica is an evergreen, architectural plant with large hand-shaped leaves, happiest in part or full shade. Fatsias can easily reach up to four metres in height and spread, and require light maintenance. They only require pruning to remove dead leaves, and heavy fruit clusters, or to reduce the size. I like to lift the canopy on a well-established fatsia to reveal its ‘sexy legs’!
A quiet, understated evergreen, Sarcococca confusa is slow growing, has elegant, glossy, dark green, ovate leaves and is loved for its winter fragrance. This is a plant to take up space and not shout about it. I’ve planted one by my front gate where I get a whiff of its gorgeous scent when I arrive or leave home. It has a loose open shape and goes well with variegated plants, such as Euonymus ‘Kathy’ or Lamium maculatum.
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' is a wonderful perennial for shade. Its mottled leaves will brighten any dark corner. The delicate forget-me-not blue flowers increase its appeal and can last longer in dry shade. Once established, it will spread to become effective ground cover. Early growth can be susceptible to snail damage so keep an eye on young plants.
Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’
Also known as elephant’s ears, the large foliage of Bergenia 'Bressingham White' makes this a clear winner for me. Bergenias are great for dry shade and once established become a very effective, evergreen ground cover. This is a good choice for difficult situations as it can grow in range of soils. The white flower spires in mid-spring look striking atop the plate sized leaves in sun or dappled shade. It will work well along paths and spilling over old brick walls.
Romantic and synonymous with spring, Galanthus nivalis is an English woodland classic. They naturalise easily and are best dotted along a border, underplanted under trees or shrubs, or on the edge of a tree canopy where the dappled light picks them out. Buy them ‘in the green’ as plugs and plant in large drifts to create a dreamy carpet effect.
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