Growing a Shade Garden

Almost everyone has a part of their yard, or a section of their garden, that receives less light or is in shade for most of the day. Starting a garden in the shade is easy and does not require too much effort to maintain if you set it up properly from the start. Growing in shadier areas of your garden or yard help to maximise the space available, and allows you to add a variety of plants that are unable to grow in sunny locations. Many plants, trees, and shrubs are suitable for semi-shade or full shade, and many of them do bloom to provide color to your area.

Plants with dark green leaves, or broad leaves, like hostas and camellias are well suited for shaded gardens and provide both great foliage, and beautiful blooms. Some grasses, fruits, vegetables, and salad greens also prosper in a shady environment. Most ferns are perfect for areas with low light and are able to grow quite wide and cover large areas easily. Quince, Japanese maples, bamboo, and many other types of trees and shrubs are also a great fit.

When designing your shade garden, regardless of the space you have available to grow in, make sure to plan for enough space in between where you will be placing your plants. This is especially important for areas with profound shade. Plants that are planted too closely together, not only will compete for nutrients and run out of space to fully mature, but will also be susceptible to rot and disease. Areas with less sunlight will not be able to dry out and will retain moisture. If plants are not properly spaced, not enough airflow through the area can cause plants to rot and can create an environment where fungi and other molds can easily flourish.

Watering in a shade garden is also different than watering in a full sun or semi-sun garden. Plants that are shade loving generally will need less frequent watering due to their location. Overwatering a shade garden can lead to root problems, such as dampening off, where plants roots rot so badly that the plant itself dies, and other issues like mildew. Allow plants enough time in between watering to drink up some of the water before watering again. This means that you will only have to water your shade garden half as often as a garden in the sun, making it an easy and low maintenance area to look after.

Aside from watering and spacing, there is not too much else that is dramatically different from a sun garden, and a garden planted in shade. There are many lists that explain what plants are ideal for shade, and many plant identification tags also have the light requirements on them to make planting and planning your garden easy. Search out plants that have broad leaves, or waxy leaves, as they are typically the varieties that are best suited to stand shade, and experiment with growing different and unusual plant varieties that you cannot plant in sunnier areas.