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Low maintenance plants that do well in shade?

Hi all,

Ive recently had a new lawn laid with sleeper beds around the perimeter. (Ive put cardboard over the soil to prevent weeds).

The furthest bed is in constant shade (apart from some early morning sun); and the adjoining bed on the right gets a fair amount of sun. (Its almost south-face, but fences cast some shade).

Im looking for low maintenance evergreen plants/shrubs for these conditions. My initial thoughts are some bamboo for the furthest wall to add some height. (I dont want to drill a trellis into that wall). Perhaps theres another plant that will give it some height and break-up the straight lines?

Also, how much do you think I need to budget? I know its an open-ended question, but just ballpark.




  • Butterfly66Butterfly66 Posts: 886
    How wide are the beds?
     If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”—Marcus Tullius Cicero
    East facing, top of a hill clay-loam, cultivated for centuries (7 years by me). Birmingham
  • I should have said: The far bed is 2 sleepers high (200mm); and the other one 100mm high. And I think they are both 200mm wide. (I will check later)
  • No to bamboo!not matter what anyone says it takes over and goes into next doors garden..
    Ferns,hosta .I have a fatsia japonica that I put in 15 years ago in deep shade in a corner.dont do anything apart take off any leaves that have died and that's very rare.look up online or buy Alan titchmarch book gardening in shade.its very good.lots of pictures and helpful ideas.good luck!
  • No to bamboo!not matter what anyone says it takes over and goes into next doors garden..
    I was given some bamboo years ago and was told it 'wasnt a spreader'. I saw it the other day and - after all this time - has still kept to its own clump. SO perhaps there is a type of bamboo that wont spread(?)

    Ferns and hosta are a good idea! I will take a look at that book thanks.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,053
  • @Hostafan1 . I get the impression you like hostas!  :D

    Funnily enough, the only pot plant I havnt managed to kill is my hosta. But hostas arent evergreen are they? (mine isnt)
  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    200mm wide is too narrow for larger plants especially bamboo, think of  your raised beds as wide as a smallish flower pot and then think whether any shrub, climber or large plant can be kept in a small pot.  
    There are sone lovely plants for shade, Fatsia as mentioned  grows easily to 6ft x 6ft.
    Sarcoccoa lovely evergreen scented shrub but again wouldn't thrive for too long in a constricted space.
    Aconitum can grow to 5ft and don't mind shade but every bit is poisonous.
    Some hardy geraniums will be fine and trail over the edge.
    Hostas are an obvious choice as there are many different types and sizes, all green or variegated and their flower spikes can be quite tall.
    Heuchera many different colours.
    If you just stick to a few plants and repeat along the length it could look very good.
    As to cost it's cheaper starting out with 9cm plants than 1 or 2 litre size but sometimes a bigger plant can be split. Hostas are often sold as bare root plants but you might be too late.
    Supermarkets and B&M sell quite cheaply with discounts for buying 3.
    Buying online puts the cost up.

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,245
    I presume the base is open so the root run isn't totally confined. I think Sarcoccoca could be viable. I would avoid larger shrubs like Fatsia as they will eventually push the sleepers out of the way as the stems thicken. I would want climbers on the back fence to green it up.

    Is there any way you can re-do the planters to be a bit wider? You have really constricted yourself in terms of having any meaningful planting.
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 761
    edited April 2021
    I agree the planters could have been wider. Probably look for plants that would grow in containers: skimmia, heuchera/heucherella, small evergreen ferns (e.g. Polystichum polyblepharum), hellebores.

    I was promised by a garden designer that Fargesia murielae would not spread and was talked out of putting in a root barrier... 3 years later it was going everywhere and breaking through concrete.
  • Podocarpus "kilworth cream" is nice. Have a look at Hebes. Try dwarf conifers, there is some nice ones out there if you look. 
    Fargesia rufa is a well behaved bamboo. I have two in my garden that are well over 10 years old and haven't gone rogue yet.
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