Friday, April 23, 2010

Perennial Container for Shade

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I made up a shade container today using mostly perennials to put in our shade perennial area to showcase some of the options for colour and texture in a shady (in this case moist) area. If someone wants to buy it good for them (it's $130) but otherwise I'm happy enough to keep this as a display piece.

The container. Heucherella 'Spotlight' in the background, Tiarella sp. behind that.

I used:
  • Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold'
  • Hosta 'Earth Angel'
  • Astilbe 'Fireberry' (in bud but absolutely loaded with buds)
  • Chasmanthium latifolium
  • Heuchera x Bressingham (at the back, barely visible but the hot pink flowers will really show in a few days when they open)
  • Hedra helix cv.

    The best part about this (in my opinion) is that you could take all these plants properly spaced and in larger numbers with a few extras here or there and have a pretty good plant list for an interesting shade garden. I'd personally substitute Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola' (we haven't been able to keep it on the shelves this year and barely had any of the 'All Gold' still around) and possibly go for a larger growing Astilbe, and probably add in an Actea 'Hillside Black Beauty' for later season interest and even more fun with foliage. Odds are when the Astilbe finishes I'll replace it with Actea 'Hillside Black Beauty' in the container anyway.

    1. Very nice. I never think of yellow plants when I think shade. They really add some much needed colour.

    2. For sure. Yellow on plants bugs me in the sun but works pretty well in shade where you need it most.

    3. I'm a fan. It really does show the versatility of shade plants. I should really consider growing some of these in my apartment, instead of the corn and morning glories. :P

    4. Perennials in containers can be extremely attractive. My problem is, I really have nowhere to pop them in the garden after the container season is over. Torture, because you do fall in love with them.

    5. I love the bright green grass... and they grow so easily!

    6. I love perennials in containers, they are even more beautiful than annuals, and you get to keep them at the end of the season, what could be better.

    7. Your perennial container is fabulous! Love the Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold'

    8. Thank you!

      I came in today to find that the Hakonechloa macra 'All Gold' had been replaced by a Heuchera 'Miracle.' We've been out of 'All Gold' basically since a day or two after I made the container and I guess someone wanted to buy it enough... Oh well, the Heuchera works well in there too.

    9. Thanks so much! I used your suggestions as a jumping off point (couldn't find exact varieties of Astilbe and Hosta) for my very first container in my very first home and I am pleased as punch by the results! They're all growing like crazy and look amazing. Thank you for helping to green my bleak concrete front entrance. Do you have any other ideas for flowering shad plants?

    10. Thanks for the comment and hopefully these plants will do well for you. Other good flowering shade plants:

      Bleeding Hearts - classic shade plant, spring flowering. Some cut leaf varieties are supposed to flower longer than the Old Fashioned types.
      Goatsbeard - flowers earlier than Astilbe - large and smaller varieties are available.
      Lungwort - Attractive leaves, attractive flowers.
      Masterwort - Long lasting flowers mid summer in white to darker pink colours.
      Turtlehead - Late summer flowers, white or pink.
      Bugbane - Large growing (or look for 'James Compton' which is more compact) late summer flowering perennial with great leaf colour if it gets at least some sun.

      Stay tuned though, I'll post about these and other shade plants as they start being interesting over the summer.


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