I have a terraced house with a north facing garden. The house and garden are both L-shapes and I am looking to do up the part of the garden which is by the side of the house. At the moment it has a path down the middle with slate and gravel on either side so I want to use pots for growing plants, probably just on one side at the moment as I want to put a waterbutt on the other side.

The problem I have is that part of this area gets no direct sun at all and none of my garden gets much sun from November to March. I have a helleboros Niger that states it likes shade, would this still flower in complete shade as it will get no sun in the winter? I would also like to grow a climbing plant but can not think of anything that would tolerate the shade  as I don't fancy growing ivy as it can damage walls, any ideas? Are there any flowers that would tolerate complete shade?

Many thanks



  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024

    hostas and ferns are good for shade, the hellebore is worth a try

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Hydrangea petiolaris is evergreen and has pretty white flowers in spring. It does have suckers that would stick to the wall but they aren't very strong and wouldn't damage your wall. If you gave it a big enough pot it could grow quite tall after a few years.

    Hydrangea seemannii is another climber with suckers - slightly larger, darker leaves and creamy white flowers.

    Both grow happily in shade.

  • FoolioFoolio Posts: 80


    I have a clematis grown in shade north facing. I don't know it's name but someone else could identify it. It receives no sun but has lots of massive blooms each year. You  would need to provide some support by trellis or wire or grow over another plant.  Here it is 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,888

    I have a clematis Perle d'Azur in shade. They grow it on a north wall in Sissinghurst garden. I also have Lonicera Henryi, but it's still quite young. I grow Busy-Lizzies and violas in my shady pots, and for perennials I have a purple Heuchera, London Pride and a Hosta.

  • Clematis Nellie Moser is famously good in shade Kamo. Big pale pink flowers with toning bars on the sepals. Heucheras are good for shade - I had one in a pot last year in almost identical conditions. There are some good bright green ones now too. I have the grass (sedge)Carex oshimenesis Evergold in pots and they will take shade. Green/gold leaves and a nice rounded shape about a foot in size. image 

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,131

    If possible, paint the walls and/or fences white or cream to bounce any light around and help the plants. 

    Hostas, uvularia, Solomon's seal, aquilegias, ferns, clematis, astilbes, geranium phaeum and geranium macrorhuizum, ligularias and hellebores all do well in beds along my north facing wall but they do get sun after 3pm in summer. Grassy haakonechloa does well too and has beautifully sunny and golden foliage.   I also have snowdrops and small daffs in those beds which get no direct sun at all during their flowering period.

    The Vendée, France
  • ginagibbsginagibbs Posts: 756

    I have a row of different types of Hosta all in pots under some dense Yew, so its very dark. They love it and are currently all in flower.

  • chickychicky Posts: 7,090

    I have box balls in shade and they do well.

    i also have a clematis like raspberry's photo- i think it is called Josephine.

    The Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones ......
  • KamoKamo Posts: 30

    Thanks for all the great ideas, I'm really glad there are far more plants that should do well in the shade than I thought there would be.

    Waterbutts - How big a pot do you think I would need for the Hydrangea?

    I think I may grow both that and a clematis, the wall there is 6ft tall by about 20ft would that be big enough for both?

    If I grow busy lizzies and violas from seed, would they germinate in the shady area or would I need to grow them in more sun then move the container once established?

    Many thanks for all your help

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,888

    Violas would germinate in shade, mine are germinating in flower beds at the moment from last years plants' seeds. I'm potting them up for this winter's big pots.

    Busy-Lizzie's are half-hardy annuals. You sow them in a heated propogater or on a warm window sill indoors in early spring then pot them on then plant out after danger from frost is past, late May. I buy plug plants mail order. There has been a problem with buying them from garden centres in England because of a fungal disease. I live in France and haven't had this disease. But they are among the most colourful plants that will grow in total shade.

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