Plant of the Month - August

Following on from Julys plant of the month we continue looking at different plants for different places. This month we take a look at a selection of plants for shady spots.

If you have a shady area in your garden you may find that a lot of the sun loving plants will struggle to thrive in that spot, however there are plenty of other plant available which will tolerate or even prefer a shady location. Here we look at some shrubs, ferns and perennial plants that might suit a shady spot in your garden.

Shrubs for shade

Lonicera Winter Beauty - small, sweetly scented cream flowers on bare branches, winter to early spring. Height and spread 2m (6½ft)

Mahonia - sharply toothed dark green leaflets and during winter bright yellow very fragrant flowers up to 40cm long. Height dependent on variety but up to 5m. Spread up to 4m .

Sarcococca – A small attractive winter shrub with highly scented flowers in winter, a real gem for the winter garden. Depending on variety it will grow up to 1.5m.

Euronymus - emerald gaiety, green leaves with white margins and pink-tinged in winter. Height 60-90cm. Spread 90cm-1.2m.

Fuchsia Mrs Popple - With bright red flowers and violet-purple petals during July through to Autumn. Height 90cm. Spread 90cm. One of the hardier fuchsias.

Vinca Perrywinkle - Long trailing shoots and dark green leaves 5cm (2in) long. Profuse white flowers over a long period during spring to autumn. Height 10-20cm. Spread indefinite.

Choisya Ternata Mexican orange blossom - Dark green leaves, and in late spring fragrant white flowers, occasionally again in late summer and autumn. Height and spread 2-2.5m

Ferns for shade

Asplenium harts tongue fern - Crowns of arching, glossy, rich green, strap-shaped fronds. Height 45-70cm. Spread 60cm ideal for damp shade.

Dryopteris cristata - delicate pale green fronds. Height 60cm . Spread 30cm .ideal for very wet sites

Dryopteris Affinis Golden male fern - Lance-shaped pale green fronds mature to dark green. Height and spread 90cm. Enjoys dry shade.

Perennials for shade

Euphorbia - There are many varieties of spurge, but Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae is one of the loveliest. From late spring it bears lime-green flowers above dark green leaves. Perfect for dry shade, it works well beneath trees and woodland borders. However left unchecked it can become invasive.

Campanula - There are many varieties of bellflower, most of which thrive in shade. Pretty clusters of purple-blue bell-shaped flowers, above heart-shaped green leaves, from summer to autumn. This plant is perfect for growing toward the back of a border and works well in traditional or cottage garden planting schemes. Like all bellflowers, its blooms are a magnet for bees and other pollinators.

Perennial geranium - There are many types of cranesbill geranium, many of which thrive in shade. Dusky cranesbill, Geranium phaem is particularly shade tolerant, and quickly grows to a dense weed-suppressing matt of green leaves with distinctive purple blotches around the centre, from which small, nodding, purple flowers appear on tall stems, from late spring to early summer.

Astrantias - Superb perennials for growing in shade beneath trees or in a moist border. They prefer moist soils but will tolerate drier conditions as long as the plants are mulched.

Helleborus - A winter-flowering staple in the cottage garden, hellebores thrive in dry shade. Bearing large clusters of saucer-shaped flowers with white, pink, green, mauve or smoky purple flowers.

Heucheras - Attractive, mound-forming plants, perfect for growing in light shade. There are many heuchera cultivars to choose from, coming in a range of unusual colours and forms. Some are tolerant of dry soils while others prefer damper habitats.

We hope you have enjoyed our plants for places series, we always welcome suggestions for future blog posts so please do get in touch by e-mail with your suggestions.

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