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shade loving plants and grasses


I need some tried and tested ideas for shade loving decorative grasses and plants. I have a small area in our garden that is behind a fence and get sun for exactly 0% of the day. the soils not overly brilliant (quite a bit of clay) so this may cause an issue aswell. Any thoughts and ideas would be much appreciated. The space is around 1m by 1.5m




  • lindsay2610lindsay2610 Posts: 100

    I'm new to gardening so there won't be anything too original here, but hellebores, hostas, ferns of varying colours. Aquilegias do well in our shade area, as do dicentra (bleeding heart) which inject some lovely colour in a very green area.

  • lindsay2610lindsay2610 Posts: 100

    Also, if you're looking for climbers for the fence then the rose, Madam Alfred de Carriere and climbing hydrangea are good for shady areas.

  • Hi Jason,

    As Lindsay says, Mme Alfred is a great and vigorous climbing rose (mine's trained on a north fence and in heavy but free-draining soil and diesvery well).

    I also have 2 raised flower beds along the same north fence and have snail-resilient hostas (sum and substance), ferns, hellebores, vincas, pulmonaria, heucheras in one (lime greens/purples/whites) and have made the other bed ericaceous, with an acer palmatum, camellia and more hostas and ferns in it.

    Separately I have a north bed with loads of bulbs (cyclamen coums for spring, cyclamen hederifolium for autumn, snowdrops, lily of the valley, the odd bluebell) as well as some ground cover lamiums, and geranium phaeums plus other shade loving perennial geraniums.

    Also have some lovely golden Hakonechloa, a Japanese grass which tumbles and is very tough.

    I had never bought stuff for partial or full shade before I had this garden, but found it really easy once I'd found this amazing mail order site called: - it's really well designed with easy to browse alphabetical categories, good info and photos. Worth spending some time reading and seeing what you like best. 

    Their delivery was excellent and all the plants I ordered were in great condition too.

    Enjoy your shady patch!


  • PS: also worth digging over your clay soil, removing any debris, stones etc, maybe even a few centimetres off the top, then breaking up the clods and back filling with Levingtons organic farmyard manure/compost mix - I did this to all my heavy clay beds and theresults were very good.

    Another great north loving plant which I forgot earlier is clematis nelly moser...

  • Oooh yes Verdun - had forgotten skimmia! I have 2 in my shady bed and they flourish.

    Thanks for the busy lizzie tip too - may try tht this year image

  • thanks for all the tips everyone really helpful stuff in there, just got to try and decide what im going to put in now. then i can try and sort the mess of a lawn out, lol. Anymore ideas you think of will be greatly appreciated

    Thanks againimage

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