Flower Shade Gardening

Pink Foxglove

Flower shade gardening presents opportunities for using plants that you won't see in gardens with an abundance of sun.

There are a wide variety of flowers growing and blooming into absolutely stunning additions to your garden even though they are in shade. With a bit of research before you start you will find it is just as much a pleasure, and just as easy, as working with a sun filled garden.

It is only specific flowers that do well in shade areas of the garden so here are some things to consider:

  • what soil type you need to use
  • what level of watering shade flowers need, and how often
  • what fertilizer or plant feed is required for specific shade flowers and plants
  • general tips for planting shade flower plants

Perhaps there are trees and shrubs in your yard or garden causing shade on an area you'd like to improve. If this is the case you may find that roots of shrubs and trees will compete with your new flower plants for food and water. For flower plants to survive they need nutrients from the soil and moisture when the climate or weather is dry, keep this in mind when planting and caring for shade loving plants.

Soil

Perennial Shade Flowers

You will need to take a look at the soil and possibly change it to suit shade plants. Most of your plants in shade will like leaf litter that has fallen off of the trees because rotting leaves go some way to providing nutrients in the soil.

Chopping up these leaves using your lawn mower or other tool will allow decomposition to speed up. Once you have mulched the leaves, you can spread the mulch around between your flowers. You can even add them to your compost as well.

Adding some slow releasing fertilizer with the soil mixture will enhance the health of your plants. When your flowering plants obtain the essential nutrients required for wellbeing, they will be more resistant to disease and less likely to develop problems.

Watering

With the proper soil and mulch, watering will be easy to do and won't be such a chore in drier weather. Moisture will be held in place by the mulch along with the nutrients that the plants need. Test the moisture content of the soil visually to see if there is any evidence of wilting plants. Also feel the soil, if it is dry, it will be in need of watering.

The only way to water is to make sure you do it thoroughly. Water must go down to the roots. Shallow watering will make the roots come to the surface to find water which isn't a good result, the roots should go down to find water, not stay on the surface.

Without the sun evaporation will be minimal, but don't forget that the wind can dry out soil very quickly. Cloudy days that are windy are exactly the days that you should check on the water and moisture situation. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because the sun isn't out all day that the wind will not dry out your soil.

Although there are a variety of flower plants you can choose from, they may have varying requirement for sun and/or shade. Some prefer dappled shade, others a much shadier space with little or no sun all day, and some do like to get a few hours of sun but not the whole day and not intense sun.

Be aware that there are different classifications of shade and that it can impact on your flowers for example; moist, wet, and dry shade. Be sure to decide what sort of shade you have in the area you are going to plant your flowers or shrubs.

You may find areas where roots from trees and shrubs are actually relatively dry due to the competition for moisture. Not a problem, just add your soil/compost mix about 6 to 8 inches deep with a border to hold everything in place.

If the environment is very wet, you need to choose plants that will survive in soil with a lot of moisture. Some plants simply don't like too much moisture, or having their roots saturated all the time.

Flowers for Shade Gardening