Most gardens have shade at some time of the day or year; perhaps cast by overhanging trees, or from a wall or fence, or the shadow of the house. Small urban gardens may be in the shade for much of the day, the surrounding buildings only allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate when it is directly overhead in summer. In some cases the planting situation may be permanently shaded, even if there is daylight. Shade is often seen as a challenging situation, because we cannot grow the plants that immediately spring to mind. To many a garden means grass and brightly coloured flowers. Shade means foliage, texture and usually more subtle blooms.
What are the best shade tolerant plants?
In reality the palette of plants for shade is rich and exciting. Some of our most beautiful shrubs and perennials thrive in shade, rewarding with year round interest. If you put them together with a little thought and creativity the effect will be stunning. I have chosen a selection that I find pleasing throughout the year, with a few seasonal highlights. These are tried and tested in the shadiest city gardens, ones that grow successfully in pots and containers, raised beds or in the open ground depending on whether you have any. The only ones you need to be careful with in the ground are the camellia and the pieris. These are both ericaceous so need acid soil. If you are unsure grow them in pots filled with lime free, loam based compost. All others can be grown in pots in standard loam based compost for mature plants.