Plants for shade
Most gardens have a shady spot: a north-facing wall, perhaps, or under a tree, or in the shadow of a nearby building. Learn to love your shade: you'll find a world of new plants opens up, and you get a cool, pleasant nook to sit out of the heat of the day: perfect for enjoying an iced drink after a hot session gardening.
The range of plants you'll find in our garden centre in Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare to grow in shade is extensive and includes delicate woodlanders, broad-leaved foliage plants and pretty spring flowers. We've picked our top ten shade-loving plants to turn your shady bits into garden highlights.
- Hostas: there's an ever-wider choice of bold, broad-leaved hostas, from beefy ribbed 'Sum and Substance' to white-splashed 'Fire and Ice'.
- Ferns: damp shady spots cry out for graceful Osmunda regalis or silver-and-purple Japanese painted ferns. If your shady spot is dry, grow Dryopteris felix-mas: 'Cristata' has curly-ended fronds.
- Rodgersia: massive leaves like a bronzed horse-chestnut 30cm across erupt from the ground, followed by stately plumes of white or pink flowers
- Foxgloves: living wild in woodland, foxgloves love dappled shade. Grow common foxglove in purple or white, or an eyecatching modern multicoloured hybrid.
- Epimediums: among the prettiest spring woodlanders, the young emerging leaves in shades of copper are almost as lovely as the dancing flowers.
- Pachysandra terminalis: a really useful ground-cover plant with a dense covering of evergreen leaves that grow even in the deepest shade.
- Euonymus: choose from silver-and-green 'Silver Queen' or gold-and-green 'Emerald 'n' Gold' for an easy, evergreen, low-maintenance shrub that sings out from a shady spot.
- Brunnera: with broad, ground-smothering leaves (in 'Jack Frost' they're silvery-green), it's the flowers which really steal the show, powder-blue and prolific throughout spring.
- Hardy geraniums: among the easiest plants to grow, geraniums flower profusely in shade: choose pale-coloured varieties like Geranium sanguineum 'Album' to glow in low light.
- Heucheras: heuchera leaves are every bit as colourful as flowers, from rich plum 'Palace Purple' to 'Amber Waves', the colour of butterscotch. They're evergreen, too.
Please ask the staff in our Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare garden centre for more information and advice about choosing plants for shade.