Gardening in shady spots


Shade gardening

A green watering can next to an orange flowering plant growing from soil and roots.

Feeling frustrated because nothing will grow in the shadier parts of your garden? Don’t despair… many plants actually thrive in shady spots, even those that receive no direct sunlight at all, you just have to know what to choose. Here’s a handy guide of a variety of fantastic shade-loving plants for you to consider:

If your shade is dappled (in other words sunlight filters through the trees above in a dappled or lacy pattern), then try planting azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, philodendrons and spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils, freesias and lachenalia. You can also grow primulas, violas, pansies, impatiens, begonias and lobelias successfully in shady conditions.

Good choices for semi-shade areas that only receive direct sunlight in the morning include star jasmine, sacred bamboo (nandina domestica) and Duranta “Sheena’s Gold”.  Remember to feed and mulch these areas well to help keep the roots of the plants cool. 

If your garden is always in full or deep shade, analyse if the soil is wet or dry and choose your plants accordingly: moist, shady areas are a happy home for maiden hair fern, elephant’s ear and many plectranthus species, while clivia miniata, which occur naturally in the shade of tall trees in our local forests, will thrive in dry shady areas; as will periwinkle (vinca major), fairy crassula (aptly known as the skaduplakkie in Afrikaans) and Canarian Ivy, the indigenous paint brush plant (haemanthus albiflos). 

Happy gardening!

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