Plants for shade

Shade may be cast by walls, buildings, trees or larger shrubs and is becoming increasingly common as gardens get smaller. Plants for shade gather what light there is by large leaves which are rich in chlorophyll and therefore often very green. Small-leaved variegated plants are less successful in shade than in sun as they lack chlorophyll. An otherwise dull, shaded area of the garden can be made to flourish through careful selection of shade tolerant plants.

For interesting, deeply-lobed, large glossy evergreen leaves look no further than Fatsia Japonica, whilst for moist shade Cornus plants or ferns such as Dicksonia Antarctica (tree fern) are a good choice. North or east-facing gardens can be cold for much of the year, so look for frost hardy or fully hardy varieties; Cotoneaster Horizontalis is an appropriately hardy, stiff-branched, berried groundcover, for example. Shaded areas under conifers are often most challenging as the accumulation of dead needles and debris creates acidic conditions; if this applies to you, or if you have any other specific preferences, use the further filter options on the left. If you have dense shade and poor soil (e.g. beneath the bough of a large tree) mix organic matter and a multi-purpose fertiliser into your soil before planting.

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