Friday, June 1, 2012

How to Make a Shade Garden

Sometimes planting a garden where there's a lot of shade can be tricky. With a little planning, though, it can be done. Here's how to do it: 1. Determine what type of shade you have - complete shade, or partial shade. This will help you figure out what plants to use. 2. Take a look at your soil. Is it damp and heavy? If so, you may need to add a little sand for drainage. Is it sandy? Then you may have to add some garden soil. 3. Select your plants. Here's a list of plants I like for partial shade (areas under trees or areas that receive sunlight several hours a day): Coleas, impatiens, bleeding hearts, azaleas, columbine, begonias (a very versatile plant), and astilbe. For areas of medium shade, I like hostas, ferns, lily of the valley, hydrangeas, and rhododendron. There aren't a lot of plants that do well in heavy shade, so you'd probably have to opt for mosses and violets in those cases. 4. Plant tall plants in the back and shorter ones in the front. Mix foilage and flowers to create interesting texture and visual appeal. 5. If you have the space, you can finish it off with garden ornaments like benches and small statues.


  1. great tips--do you have any advice about moving a rhododendron---it has taken over my small garden space and also it rarely blooms--thanks!

  2. First of all, don't try to transplant your rhododendron now. It's too hot. Wait until the spring. If it is near other trees/shrubs, it may be difficult to get out. When you're ready to move it, get the soil wet around it, to make it easier to dig. Rhododendron roots tend to grow wide and shallow, so keep that in mind when you're digging. Have a tarp nearby so you can put it on it to transport it to a new location. Rhododendrons like areas with afternoon shade, protected from wind and harsh sunlight. They also like slightly acidic soil with good drainage. Keep that in mind for your new location. I hope this helps.

    1. it really does help--thanks so much sherry!

  3. Thanks for the tips. Talk about timing--much needed tips!

  4. I love the look of the garden in the photo. Beautiful plants.

  5. I've always wanted to try columbine in our garden. In a very shady spot, under a tree, we have successfully grown chard and Red Russian kale. They are hardy and have done pretty well among violets.