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Plant choices for mainly shaded area

Hello, I’m after some advice about planting, what plants to grow. We have an area which is about 23m long and 1.5 wide. It’s east facing and has a 8ft high hedge running all the way down. It becomes fully shaded from about 11am in the summer months. What would you advise for the best plants, shrubs to go into this area. Many thanks Nadine 


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,309
    I'd expect it's predominantly dry shade then?
    Is the hedge evergreen or deciduous though? That can make a difference too, as the border would be wetter in winter/spring. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • It’s evergreen hedge. The soil that is there has been mainly dry. Once planted we will cover the ground in bark to help keep moisture in. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,309
    Most hardy geraniums will be fine, and the majority of spring bulbs, although not tulips as they need a sunny site to do well. Snowdrops probably wouldn't thrive particularly well, but worth trying. Some Japanese anemones will be fine, but they can be invasive in drier conditions. The whites do better with damper soil. Hellebores are pretty adaptable. Cyclamen for autumn/winter.
    I have the opposite conditions [wet rather than dry] so someone else might be able to help better with shrub suggestions. Potentillas would be fine once established though, and I have Buddleias in east facing sites. Most Cistus [Broom] should be ok too, and Pyracantha and Berberis .
    The more shrubs you have, the drier the border will become though   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you so much, that is really helpful. I’ll make a note and start looking. 
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 1,973
    Hello @nadinelast84, I have a border in a similar situation to yours with an eight foot laurel hedge belonging to my neighbour behind it.  I struggled initially to fill it with interesting plants which would tolerate shade but have now managed to achieve a reasonably good mix containing Griselinia, Arbutus unedo, Euphorbia, Fatsia japonica, hardy Geraniums and Phormium (the variegated version which brightens up the space).

    I have added lots of compost to the bed and covered it with a bark mulch to help to retain moisture.  The plants have been slow growing because of the lack of full sun but they are sturdy and well established.  I have also grown some trees in the border, two Rowans and a Whitebeam.  With a bit of patience you can create an interesting border in that situation.  It's a good idea when planting to ensure that there is sufficient access to your hedge to be able to maintain it in future.  Good luck! 

    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 701
    edited January 2022
    Sounds like a nice project. Evergreen plants that do well for me in shade, which I hardly water in the course of the year (yes to lots of bark mulch), are:

    - Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tandara Gold’ and ‘Tom Thumb’
    - Epimedium pubigerum, Epimedium x warleyense 'Orangekonigin' (plenty of other different kinds out there)
    - Polystichum polyblepharum
    - Choisya x dewitteana ‘Scented Gem’
    - skimmia
    - euonymus
    - hellebores
    - box (but beware of blight and moths). 

    But they aren’t in competition with a hedge in my garden… I’m pretty sure epimedium would be fine though as ground cover.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 50,309
    The hedge is a massive factor - literally. 
    Even in very wet areas like mine, that makes the plant choices , and prepping the border well, more important. As ever, plenty of organic matter to retain moisture, and improve the soil,  is the way to go   :)
    I have an east/NE facing border with mixed shrubs and ivy as a background 'hedge', and I have all of those shrubs I mentioned in it. I also have the spring flowering white Spireas [arguta] Wiegela, a native Rowan,  until recently- a Viburnum, and various other moisture loving plants like Camassias, but my [improved] clay soil never dries out which makes it easier.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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