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Will you please suggest some plants or bushes for shade?

Sandra Asked

Will you please suggest some plants or bushes for shade?

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The Gardener’s Answer

As Kentucky gardeners, we have many shade-loving shrub options. Aucuba japonica, Mahonia, English Laurel (‘Otto Luyken’ and ‘Schipkaensis’), Pieris japonica, Taxus and certain azaleas are all great evergreen options. Deciduous shrubs to consider include: Oakleaf hydrangea, Bottlebrush Buckeye and Virginia Sweetspire.

Incorporating perennials and annuals among the larger shrubs creates a layered look as well as a range of color, texture, and depth. Although shade gardens can be extremely beautiful, they are not as full of flowers as sun-loving gardens. This is where the different color foliage comes into play. Some of my favorite shade loving perennials are Solomon Seal, Helleborus (Lenton Rose), Heuchera (Coral Bells), Brunnera, Bleeding Heart and several ferns including the Japanese Painted Fern. For a detailed list, click here.

Do you have height or width restrictions? It is always a good idea to measure your space before shopping for plants. Always space plants so they have enough room to mature without restriction. Visit the shade sections of your local garden centers to see what you can’t live without. From a design standpoint it is best to plant in groups instead of singles. Most garden centers have designers on staff, so take advantage if this is not something you feel comfortable doing yourself.

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