When the garden catalogs come out and the nurseries start stocking plants, gardeners start thinking about how to get the most bloom for their buck. That can be a really tough job when you have a shaded garden that needs some color. You don’t have to have an all foliage garden just because your garden is shaded, and you don’t have to settle for just a few weeks of bloom. Here are our top picks for choosing garden plants that bloom in the shade, all summer long!
Geranium – This is not your typical annual geranium that fills window boxes everywhere… in truth, those are Pelargoniums. True geraniums are a perennial that does well in partial shade, and blooms pink or blue all summer. In addition, many varieties’ foliage turns bronze or red in the fall. We love Geranium “Rozanne”. Its blooms are big and blue, and the plant grows to 20 inches.
Astilbe – Astilbe have foliage that is glossy and attractive, and bloom from late spring into summer. If you cut them back after blooming, they can bloom again. In pinks, purples and whites, they are a fluffy spire that can brighten any shady spot.
Spiderwort – Known for growing in almost any conditions, Spiderwort has strap like foliage and interesting flowers of white, pink or purple all summer.
This variety has bright green leaves and is called “Sweet Kate”. Great for brightening up a shady garden!
Hardy Fuchsia – There are several cultivars of hardy Fuchsias, which are just as beautiful as the basket variety, but usually larger and more up right. The most common variety grown in the Pacific is Fuchsia magellanica. This Fuchsia is a shrub like plant covered with tubular blooms that hummingbirds LOVE, and blooms spring to first frost. Growing 6-10 feet high and as wide, it’s winter hardy down to zone 6, though it might die back during the coldest months. It will come alive again in spring!
Impatiens – No conversation about long blooming shade plants would be complete without talking about Impatiens. There are two types, the one we are talking about is the bedding Impatiens, which are the kind you find in every nursery in six packs and lots of colors. While these are annuals and die back each winter, they perform better than any other flowering shade plant. They are tender, so be sure not to plant them too early…Wait until the soil starts to warm. Planting them when it’s still cold can stunt them. Also, they need moisture and are heavy feeders. Cut them back by a third if they start to get leggy, and give them a dose of liquid fertilizer. My favorite are white Impatiens, but they come in many colors, from neon brights to pastels. They, much like petunias and marigolds, have gotten a bad wrap by gardening snobs as being cliche, and boring. Any plant can be boring if you don’t use it properly. So use them the way they shine…in large drifts of all one color..and watch those snobs eat their words!
So don’t use your shady garden as an excuse not to have flowers in bloom all summer long. Pick one, two or all of these and create a shade garden that blooms all summer!Image Credits: Bluestone, BHG, North Creek Nursery, Park Wholesale, BHG