Katie Rushworth’s Guide to Planting in the Shade

Planting in the shade needn’t be dull! Most gardens have a difficult spot in the shade where things can often struggle to grow. However, planting the right plants in the right place can transform your dull patch of shade into a green haven of colour and texture.

Firstly, it’s important to know that most things that flower in the shade do so in spring. Think of a woodland, early in the year before the trees get their leaves is when the woodland floor comes to life! Things like Bluebells, dog-toothed Violets, woodland Anemones and, my favourite, Snake’s Head Fritillaries all benefit from the light that’s gets to the floor at that time of year.

After that flourish of spring jewels, the leaves come out on the trees and the green textures carpet underfoot. Accepting that a shady border will never be full of showy, colourful flowers in the summer is the key to getting this right and picking the right kinds of plants.

But don’t let this dampen your spirits! Shade tolerant plants have gorgeous foliage, things like Brunnera, Tiarella, Ferns and Hostas all look amazing together and give a tapestry-like effect and, once established, they will all grow up to one another, helping to suppress weeds!

Fatsia and Periwinkle are fantastic low maintenance, shade tolerant options with glossy foliage – anything with a shiny leaf will reflect what little light there is, therefore brightening a dingy corner. Any plant with white flowers is also a brilliant addition to any shady border as it instantly illuminates and can transform a space.

Working with the conditions of your site is always the path to success!