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Low growing evergreen for full shade? Moss?

ManderMander GatesheadPosts: 334
I have a problem corner that I'm pondering what to do with. It's where a low stone wall and a privet hedge meet in a northwest facing garden and gets very little light. I'd like to find something that will grow reasonably well in the corner but not get too tall because that's where you have to stand to cut the hedge.

There is ivy growing a bit underneath the hedge but it would be nice to have something a bit more interesting. I've tried to encourage wild mosses to grow there but they never seem to take off. I have a cutting of a vinca that I pinched from a roadside but I know it can go a bit crazy so I'm a bit hesitant to plant it in the ground.



  • ElferElfer Posts: 329
    Japanese spurge, Pachysandra terminalis.
  • ManderMander GatesheadPosts: 334
    Elfer said:
    Japanese spurge, Pachysandra terminalis.
    I came across that one but it seems like it might get to be about 30cm tall? Even with a stepping stone that would be in the way of easily reaching the hedge. 
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,299
    Ajuga,low growing
  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    edited June 2021
    Perhaps it will not be so "invasive" in full shade.
    This one also invasive.
    Flower spikes on my ajuga up to 20cm at the moment, but the foliage is low growing and spreads outwards. Very slow growing. Barely doubled in size from a 9cm pot 1 year on.
    Maybe you need a plant that won't mind being trodden on when you step in to cut the hedge.
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
  • delskidelski Posts: 274
    Fire said:
    Euphorbia purpurea or robbiae.
    My robbaie is at least 30cm tall with flower spikes. Will survive getting trampled on and spreads really quickly as ground cover, but not sure how attractive that will be for you @Mander and if you're trampling it to cut the hedge you might get covered in that milky irritant sap.
  • What about wild ginger? I just ordered a bunch with pretty variegation for a similar situation… dark corner under a porch swing. Many are evergreen and come in varieties that are 3-6”/7-15 cm high. 
  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782
    Mander, I've found Dicentra 'Aurora' has worked really well in my shady bits.  Here is a pic of my little acer shaded area with this dicentra underneath with its white flowers.  I've brightened the photo slightly so that you can see it better whereas in reality the conditions are darker.   Grows to about a foot tall and produces a clump over a year or two and flowers from early spring through to autumn.   This little acer shady corner is really a pile of stones from an old path with a bag of compost thrown over them.  I planted the acer in this stony heap, added the dicentra and Ajuga 'Burgundy Glow' which is the small variegated purple flowered plant in the other photo.   I added 'Mind your own business' which has grown over and covered the stones nicely and spread down (but needs to be kept in check from crawling its way into the rest of the garden).  Not sure if it would work for you depending on your conditions - but it's been fabulous for me.  Tough as old boots. 

  • KeenOnGreenKeenOnGreen Posts: 1,741
    I second Pachysandra.  Only about 4-5 inches tall, lovely delicate white flowers in Spring.  Not as invasive as Ajuga.  
  • ManderMander GatesheadPosts: 334
    Great, thanks! Maybe the page I saw about Pachysandra was including the flower spikes. Something that can tolerate getting stepped on occasionally would be nice.

    I transplanted some of the saxifrage that was taking over the back garden into the corner for now so we'll see how that goes. Maybe I should consider making a formal path with a border instead of just stepping stones, but I had a lot of random stones in the garden already. 
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