If you have ever tried to plant a shrub in the shade and failed, don't feel lonely. You have plenty of company. It is a difficult gardening task. Just knowing which plant does well in low light is not enough to guarentee success.
conditions such as moisture, air flow, temperature, soil coditions, and competition from established dominate trees all present variables to deny you your gardening success.
The first step in evaluating a site is to determine if trees overhead need to be pruned. These overhead trees may block air flow which can limit the vigor and health of low shade loving plants. The amount of light that reaches the ground will vary with the seasons and it is a moving target. The overhead trees will grow back as the landscape matures. This is the time to determine which trees should be removed. If the usefull life remaining in a tree is short because the tree is declining, diseased, or the tree has surface roots such as mullberry trees, berries that will be a mess, or hazzardous foot traps such as the walnuts, why not get them out of the way before you plant?
Densely shaded areas under large trees and under overhanging buildings are harder to plant than places that are partially shaded. The densely shaded areas may need extra water even in when in general there seems to be enough water. The large trees can absorb water needed by newly establishing plants. Large trees can deflect water away from the area under the canopy like an umbrella.
Soil fertility also can be an issue. Trees and shrubs fill the soil with roots that use up nutrients as readily as they are applied. It may seem that the more you water and fertilize, the more roots with which you have to contend. Yet adequate fertility is essential for all your plants because without it they are likely to be small and weak. In most cases a spring application of a balanced fertilizer, followed by one or two applications durring the season, will help your shade plants survive the competition of tree and shrub roots. If root competition is a serious problem, planting in raised beds above ground is a viable alternative. Raised beds can be replanted each spring with annuals, since bulbs or perennials cannot be expected to survive winter's cold. With some exceptions shade-tolerant plants will do best in well-drained, relatively fertile soil. Both sandy soils and heavy, clay like soils will likely benefit from the incorporation of organic matter such as compost, or well-rotted manure. Such materials are particularly helpful in areas of hard, compacted soils.
I have listed below some of the shade loving plants that we stock. This is not a complete list, so if there is a plant you want that is not listed email me. We also sell seedlings and liners for many shade loving plants.
Healthy trees are an asset and investing in proper tree plantings can add to the value of your property. We will be glad to assist you with your questions. We answer the phone live 24 hours a day and have a trained staff to assist you in answering your landscape questions. Our staff specializes in woody plants for zones 4 to 6. Call us direct at 215 651 8329.
Witch Hazel Flowers - Great For Partial Shade Locations
H. virginiana, or common witch hazel is found growing in its native form from Nova Scotia south to central Florida, and west to Minnesota in the north and Texas in the south. Vernal witch hazel, or Ozark witch hazel, is more Midwest in its range, which extends from Missouri and Arkansas southwest into the states of Oklahoma and Texas.
Many landscapers have turned their attention to the Chinese species (H. mollis) or the hybrid between the Chinese and Japanese species (H. x intermedia) for their great ornamental attributes such as durable summer foliage, beautiful fall color, pleasant fragrance and bright flowers in late winter to early spring. These plants are relatively care-free additions to Eastern landscapes, and deserve more attention and use.
In addition to its ornamental attributes, witch hazel has several medicinal properties including use as an astringent and an anti-inflammatory. Witch hazels are one of the very few American medicinal plants approved as an ingredient in non-prescription drugs by the US Government.