Do you have a lot of shade in your yard and want a
little color? There are so many plants that won't do well
in the shade at all no matter how well you care for them.
Caladiums (Click to Enlarge)
Photo: Joani MacCubbin
But......there are also lots of colorful plants that need
to be in shade to grow well, be happy and will give you
lots of color.
In some of those shady areas you
probably have lots of root competition from mature trees
or shrubs to contend with and you wouldn't be able to
plant anything in the ground at all. So bowls or pots of
color would be a good choice. You wouldn't have to `cover'
the whole area just a bowl here and there......with a
little fresh mulch in between will give you the pizzazz
you're probably looking for. Also try a few hanging
baskets from the limbs of those trees. Hang them at
different heights to make them more attractive.
side of the yard is mostly shade from 4 very large
Ligustrums .....and that's a good thing for me because I
love orchids and have quite a collection. So orchids
Orchid (Click to Enlarge)
Photo: Joani MacCubbin
would be a very good choice hanging from branches of the
trees. You'll find they will bloom well and most flower
stalks can last for months. You will need to fertilize
them once a month with a liquid fertilizer and water them
at least twice a week but if it rains a 1/4" or more you
won't have to water them for at least a week or more.
Orchids are tough, very exotic looking and eye-catchers
that will certainly perk up a shady yard. Many colors and
types are easily available. My favorites are Oncidiums,
Phalaenopsis and Cattleyas. Some orchids are nicely
scented, too. There is an oncidium that smells like
chocolate. I've found my best ones at the best prices at
Garden Club sales. Also check out your local civic
organizations that may have garden sales throughout the
year......especially in the Spring.
has lots of root competition, I chose to plant a variety
of colorful impatiens in some old hanging baskets. I
removed the wire hangers and set them on
Crotons and Schefflera (Click to Enlarge)
Photo: Joani MacCubbinthe
ground. The hanging basket gives the impatien plenty of
growing room. One 4" impatien will quickly fill a 12"
basket. I placed mine in a swirling pattern on the ground
next to a pathway. They would also do well planted in
bowls, an old window box type planters or clay pots. A
good way to reuse old containers .....just clean them up
and put them back to work.
Another shade loving
plant there is a large variegated Spathiphyllum .....a
very pretty and tough plant. It's been planted in an old
pedestaled pot for years. It survived last winter without
a problem and still looks wonderful. Now I can't guarantee
that for every one of our winters....as this past winter
was very kind to us gardeners.
Dracaenas are a good
choice. They come in different leaf shapes, striped leaves
and color combinations of green, pink and white or just
green. Caladiums love the
Impatiens (Click to Enlarge)
Photo: Joani MacCubbinshade,
too and the colors they come in will decorate any yard
very well. Both Dracaenas and Caladiums are good plantings
for around a pool. Both are colorful and not messy.
Other colorful annuals that you could plant are
begonias, coleus or torenia. Finally some perennials
like the Amazon lily which blooms only at Christmas time.
Other good choices are peacock ginger and bromiliads.
Bromiliads do very well in the shade and are available in
many variations. But.....these are all on Tom's side of
the yard because many varieties have thorns on the sides
and tips of the leaves. So choose your bromeliad wisely
especially if you have kids or pets that may visit your
new shade garden.