Gardening in The Shade
By MG Calla Victoria
One of the biggest challenges to gardeners is the prospect of providing color and pizzazz at the shady end of their gardens. Because of a huge shade tree there is a big bald spot in the garden, or what once was a sunny area has now become a shady because small trees that you or your neighbor planted a couple of years ago are now spreading their wings. Have no fear; there are lots of shade-loving plants that can brighten up your surroundings. Always check out the care tag on each plant that you buy for its sun exposure requirements. Full sun plants will not survive in shady areas, and shade-loving plants will burn up if you plant them in sunny areas.
Of course the first plants we think of for shady areas are hostas and coleus as their lush foliage brings dimension and life to those otherwise void areas. But there are so many other plants that add color and pizzazz in shady areas. The Astilbe hybrids are great for color and texture in the shade. Caladiums add shape and pops of color in shady areas. Most bromeliads are shade loving, easy-care plants that add color, drama, and exquisite foliage in a shade garden. Orchids are fabulous in a shade garden. Although coveted as an indoor plant, orchids can thrive outdoors after all that is where they started. Bare root orchids like vandas are very striking in the garden just dangling under the branches of a shade tree. Just remember the orchids have to be misted twice daily, and they don’t like wet feet. That is why most orchids are in those wide-weaved baskets or slotted terracotta pots for max drainage. Shady does not have to be bland, the right plant material can take your garden from shady to amazing.
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This article was published in Data News Weekly's August 17, 2013 edition. ladatanews.com