For some garden owners, such areas represent a particular challenge, for others an insoluble problem. But also shady gardens have their charms from spring to late autumn. Here, too, you don’t have to do without lush flowers and a wide variety of leaf shapes and colors. The design options in a shade garden are just as diverse as in a conventional garden. Many hobby gardeners specifically create shady areas in the garden in order to be able to create a corresponding shade garden. And if you orient yourself to nature, you can see that here too, for example at the edges of the forest, where usually very little sunlight comes in, colorful plants thrive, the sun-loving plants are in no way inferior in terms of color diversity and lushness.

Popular plants and perennials for partially shaded to shady areas

Shade tolerant does not mean that these plants can stand completely in the dark. They too need ‘light’ moments from time to time. In addition, the soil conditions play an important role in the selection of plants, because here too the soil can be sandy, moist or dry. There are more plants that are suitable for shady locations than you might think. This can be woody plants or climbing plants, but also perennials, ferns, grasses or various bulbous plants and ground cover.

The range of shade-tolerant perennials is particularly large. In addition to foxgloves and wood anemones, there are perennials such as liverwort, lungwort, silver candle, splendid spar, white forest aster, Japanese slate, blue lark spur, violet, arum, bleeding heart and columbine as well as primrose, trefoil, pigeon lily or hazel root.

Rhododendrons, hydrangeas, climbing hydrangeas or lilacs should be mentioned as shade-tolerant shrubs. With the perennials, but also with all other flowering plants, it is advisable to consider the respective flowering phases when selecting them, so that the flowering splendor lasts throughout the season. Interesting ornamental trees for the shade garden are, for example, the hydrangea, the Oregon grape, the dogwood, the rhododendron and the snowball.

Plants look particularly beautiful and noble, which impress above all with their beautiful foliage, above all the funkie, also called hosta, a leaf ornament that stands out with green, bluish and white or yellow-colored leaves and leaf markings, with the exception of yellow-leaved hostas, these require sufficient light. Leaves are generally a major design element in the shade garden.
Climbing plants can be used to beautify unsightly, shady corners in the garden. Ivy, honeysuckle, wild forms of clematis and climbing hydrangea, kiwi, grapevine or jasmine solanum are suitable, for example.

With ground cover for shady areas, even larger areas can be transformed into beautiful flower carpets. Plants such as elven flower, lily of the valley, golden nettle, forest anemone, blue periwinkle and celandine are suitable for this.

The same applies to onion plants such as elf crocus, daffodil, ray anemone, snowdrops, squill, winterling, milk star or the Turkish lily. They offer a rich color palette in the first half of the year before the leaves begin to shoot. Hyacinths are only partially suitable for shady areas.

The whole thing can then be loosened up with ferns or various grasses. When it comes to ferns, you have the choice between lady fern, funnel fern, filigree fern, golden scale fern, king fern or potted fern. If you prefer grasses, you can opt for a giant, bird’s foot, Japanese or broad-leaf sedge, as well as forest ridge, giant forest or forest smut.

As in any other garden, you should also pay attention to the correct arrangement of the plants in a shady garden.It is important here to put the largest plants to the rear, those with a medium height in the middle and the smallest, for example the ground cover, to the front .

Not all shadows are created equal

Not all shadows are created equal, and this is especially true when it comes to the right location for the different plants. For example, light shade means that the foliage is only so dense that some of the sunlight penetrates the ground. As a rule, there is a constant change between short periods of shade and sunny sections.

Partially shaded areas get sun for about half a day or for more than three hours, for example morning and evening sun. The rest of the day they are in the shade, ie the shady periods are much longer here than in the light shade.

It only becomes difficult in full shade. These areas are permanently dark, so that even the most robust plants have a relatively difficult time here. It is therefore advisable to simply observe how the light conditions in the garden change over the course of a day before buying suitable plants.

Maintaining a shade garden

Shade tolerant plants don’t like constant tillage like hoeing or raking at all. In some cases, however, the soil can be so hardened due to fluctuating moisture that it is advisable to loosen up the soil a little. Just as it can be relatively dry in a shady garden, it can also quickly lead to a build-up of moisture, which among other things would promote rot.

Accordingly, you should always make sure that the soil is well permeable and that there is sufficient air circulation. In autumn the soil can be enriched with humus if necessary. As a rule, only dry areas should be watered regularly. Too much moisture should be avoided to avoid fungal attack.

Shady areas due to leafy treetops or overhangs are often particularly dry and must be watered accordingly. Here it can be helpful to apply bark mulch, which keeps the moisture in the soil longer.

Problems that can arise in such gardens

The already mentioned, sometimes quite dry soils in shady areas represent a problem due to the dense tree tops and the direct competition for roots from trees and bushes. This can be remedied with an appropriate irrigation system or a perforated drainage hose that is laid between the plants .

Planting can be particularly problematic where, for example, red beeches, birches or norway maples are located, because these woody plants are so-called shallow roots, ie they remove nutrients and water from the soil and can therefore dry it out to a relatively high degree. It is much easier for plants in the vicinity of so-called deep-roots such as hawthorn, walnut or chestnut.

Another problem can be high walls, behind which there is insufficient air circulation. This can mean that the foliage of the plants cannot dry out and fungal infections occur. In such cases, it can be helpful to cut back trees and bushes planted there regularly or thinning them out.

Just as problematic as soil that is too dry are soil that is too wet in a shade garden. Against too much moisture, for example, you can work sand into the soil and make it looser and more permeable that excess moisture can easily seep away. Quartz sand with a grain size of 0.5 to 2 mm is particularly suitable for this.

Fruit and vegetables for shady locations

  • The best-known fruit, which is suitable for shady areas, is morello cherries.
  • This is a type of sour cherry that, as the name suggests, gets along very well in shady locations.
  • Other shade-tolerant types of fruit are rhubarb, blackberries and gooseberries.
  • Vegetables usually need a lot of light to grow and thrive.
  • But there are also vegetables that get along well with partially shaded areas.
  • These are, for example, spinach and lamb’s lettuce.
  • However, you should fertilize much less than vegetables in a conventional garden.

Herbs for shade gardens

By the way, there are also various herbs that are suitable for shaded or partially shaded areas. These include tarragon, peppermint, chilli, lovage, tarragon, peppermint, borage, chervil, woodruff, lemon balm or rocket. Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano and Co. are usually warm and sun-loving and unsuitable for a shade garden.

Lawn in the shade garden

Lawns in the shadow garden are a bit critical, but still feasible. For these cases, the trade offers lawn seeds that are especially suitable for shady areas. Here you should pay particular attention to high-quality seeds.

Completely fully shaded areas are completely unsuitable for the creation of a lawn, where you should fall back on shade-tolerant ground cover if necessary. It looks different in partial shade, here it is quite possible to create a lawn. However, shadow lawns are significantly less resilient in terms of tread resistance than conventional lawns for use.

It is best to sow shady lawns in spring, as the deciduous trees are not yet completely leafy at this time, so that it still gets enough light. After sowing, the lawn should be kept moist. Regular fertilization is advisable in spring and late summer. A single application of lime in spring minimizes the formation of moss in the lawn and balances the acidity of the soil. Of course, shady lawns must also be mowed every 2-4 weeks. In contrast to conventional lawn, however, it should not be cut shorter than 6-8 cm.

Paths and squares in shady areas
Just like in a conventional garden, you can also upgrade a shady garden with individually designed paths and squares. Paths made of light pebbles or natural stones blend in particularly harmoniously. You can also set accents in a shady garden with light seating furniture. This also applies to light figures or stones. Various water elements, such as small fountains or water features, create a particularly refreshing atmosphere.

Snails – a danger to ornamental perennials

  • Ornamental perennials such as the funkie are also very popular with snails.
  • These eat many large holes in the leaves.
  • This can seriously affect the appearance of the plants in question.
  • Commercially available slug pellets can be used to protect the plants from snail damage.
  • The trade now also offers organic slug pellets.
  • This should be distributed around the ornamental leaves in spring.

There are usually shady areas in every garden, be it under trees or near walls and buildings. There is also a multitude of colorful plants for these areas, which can also transform shady areas into a veritable sea of ​​flowers. A shade garden brings variety to every garden and increases its versatility many times over. In summer it also provides a pleasant cooling off.

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