Simple Tips for Planning a Shady Garden

No sun? No problem.  Many plants love the shade.  In fact, many plants need the shade to grow and prosper.  If you have a flowerbed, container, or window box that gets less than six hours of sun every day, you need to be looking for the right shade plants to brighten up your garden.

Before you plan your garden, determine what kind of shade the flowerbed actually gets in a day.  There are some gardens that would be classified as partial sun, which would mean they get 4-6 hours of direct sunlight every day.  Some would be partial shade, meaning they can get 2-4 hours of direct sunlight, but they need relief from the sun, particularly from the intense late afternoon sunlight.  Finally, there are full shade gardens that flourish the best with least amount of sun, or just dappled sunlight throughout the day.

In a shady garden, you will not get the same big, blooming, colorful flowers that you may find in a full sun garden, but you get many different textures, interesting leaf shapes, and colorful foliages.  It allows for you to show your creativity and provide variety within your garden, but it takes very careful planning and attention.  In the first year of your shade garden, you must water it very well so it has the opportunity to establish a strong root system, given that you planted mostly perennials.  After your first year, it will come back green, leafy, and beautiful in the years to come.

Some common, but classic shade plants include impatiens, ferns, hostas, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas.  Many of the shade plants require different amounts of sunlight and more or less water, so be sure to look closely at the labels on the plants when purchasing them.  Those will tell you exactly what the plant needs to thrive in your garden.

With the right planning, and the right care, a shady garden will stay interesting all season long and provide a lush, cool getaway right in your backyard.

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