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Suggestions please - shrubs for shade!

Rosie31Rosie31 Posts: 483

Hello all

We've long rocky bank, north-facing, and clay soil, which is planted with shrubs.   We tried for a mediterranean look, but a decade on most of the true mediterranean plants (spartium, cytisus) have given up the ghost - not surprising given the conditions.  The survivors are buddleia, some hydrangea, some cistus (surprisingly), some daphne.  One section of the bank is particularly tricky because it is in really serious shade from overhanging trees.  Even the buddleia are struggling there.

This season we're going to re-vamp.  We'd like if possible to keep the vaguely mediterranean look, but our range of shrubs needs to be more realistic.  Apart from the ones we have already, does anyone have any suggestions?

All ideas welcome!



  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Would bay be any good to you? Ive got one thats growing in quite a shady spot, not sure if its what your after.

    Fatsia japonica is the old staple for shade, but is more of a jungle look than med! image
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Is your bank dry or moist?

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,422

    Hydrangea? One of the species not the seaside boarding house ones.

    H. petiolata (anomala or whatever it is now) might go as ground cover if nothing to climb up.

    Choisya does well in shade but not sure about the clay

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • allium2allium2 Posts: 413

    We have variegated Weigela which is doing really well as well as Acres. The are growing in mostly shade under trees.

  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    If the shade is not too intense you could try one of the easier to grow Daphnes there.  For Winter flower I think Sarcoccoca would grow in that situation. Osmanthus delavayii is quite shade tolerant.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Dogwood? Hazel? image
  • Rosie31Rosie31 Posts: 483

    Thank you everyone - great suggestions!

    Hogweed, the bank is dry in summer because sheltered from rain by overhanging trees, but wetter in winter when exposed (and the soil is clay).  The biggest issue is finding a decent soil pocket - it is rocky hillside, planting holes need to be dug with pickaxe and mattock, not spade.  So the soil is rich clay, but not much of it.  The only good thing about it is that the stoniness and steepness (it's about 45 degrees) means it does drain relatively well.

    The other hazard is rabbits (and hares).... but nothing is immune to them, so I've given up worrying about that and just live with the casualties!

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    How about Santolina chamaecyparissus, Skimmia, Spirea  japonica ‘Anthony Waterer’, Kerria japonica, Amelanchier, Leycesteria, Euonymus? None of them unfortunately anything like Mediterranean but shady Mediterranean is a bit of an oxymoron.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • MuddyForkMuddyFork Posts: 435

    Escallonia does well in shade in my garden which is on clay

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