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What can I plant in dry shade?

(12 Posts)
neuroticmumof3 Thu 28-Jul-11 20:45:26

I've got a patch that's almost in perpetual shade, under a cherry tree and is also right by a hedge. I've planted all sorts of things there but nothing flourishes. Any ideas anyone?

Sandalwood Thu 28-Jul-11 23:09:53

Although, if you have young DC bear in mind that they are very poisonous.

madrush Thu 28-Jul-11 23:14:32

I've got a patch like that - drives me mad. I've managed to establish a sweet box, a viburnum tinus and vinca minor for weed cover. This site is great

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Jul-11 07:51:33

Hostas? You'd need to protect them from slugs but I have some under a tree in a very gloomy part of the garden and they seem to love it. Also paeonies in the same spot.

cuppateaplease Fri 29-Jul-11 08:51:16

Dry shade is the hardest part of a garden to look good!
Can you cut some of the cherrytree branches or more importantly trim the hedges back to allow a bit more light and expose more of the soil to any rain fall?
Dig in as much organic material as you can - compost/manure/leafmould and then mulch regularly each year to help with moisture and nutrients as the tree and shrubs are quite greedy.
the crocus website looks good plus the other suggestions. I haven't gone through the whole of website but i would have suggested stuff like bergenia, arum pictum, cyclamen, Dryopteris filix-mas (one of the few ferns that don't mind dry), some geraniums cope well with dry and actually prefer poor soil whereas others won't like it so just check the labels on plants, hellebore foetidus is v robust, iris foetidissima (these are supposed to smell horrid but can't say I've actually noticed it) and honesty. Also try bulbs - as there will be more light rain before the cherrytree gets its leaves back - especially snowdrops. We also have cowslips that keep seeding themselves all over the garden including the dry shady areas.

BeeBopBunny Fri 29-Jul-11 09:40:11

There are lots of plants that will suit this situation if you water them well in the first year to get them established:

ferns, ivy, vinca major/minor, euphorbia robbiae, japanese anemonies, campanulas, hellebores...

As cuppateaplease says, dig in plenty of organic matter to retain moisture, or if you're worried about disturbing the cherry roots apply a think mulch of organic matter in the autumn once we've had a decent amount of rain.

neuroticmumof3 Fri 29-Jul-11 19:15:12

Thanks everyone. Think I really need to add compost as the soil is probably pretty poor. Keep trying to get my DP to do a drastic prune on the cherry tree, maybe this year he'll get around to it.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 30-Jul-11 08:40:11

Tip.... don't wait for DPs to do anything in the garden or you'll still be in the same situation this time next year. Get some long-handled ratchet loppers, pruning saw and step ladders and have lots of fun doing it yourself. OR... pay someone else to do it. If your action shames them into helping, tell them to clear up the mess... smile

neuroticmumof3 Mon 08-Aug-11 19:41:06

I know I should have done it myself but DP has finally pruned the cherry tree. There's hardly anything left of it. So I've got going digging up my mostly dead plants that have been suffering in the shade. Then I'm going to put lots of compost down (from my composter) and get planning to plant.

theyoungone Mon 08-Aug-11 20:07:21

Japanese Acer's love dry shade. They absolutely detest sunny postions and that is why we see so many that have burn't leaves. I planted an Acer for a client underneath an oak tree in complete shade, it very rarely gets watered and yet it's looking fantastic!!
I'll take a pic of it tomorrow when I'm at work and post it on my profile as proof! smile

whatatip Tue 09-Aug-11 14:22:42

Gardeners world magazine is about shade loving plants this month.

ShellingPeas Wed 10-Aug-11 20:29:10

Epimedium is a good species for dry shade. Under a hawthorn tree (dense foliage) in our garden I have hellebore, epimedium, cyclamen (both coum and hederafolia), and as the canopy thins out towards the edges I've also got a small forsythia, dwarf flowering cherry and dicentra Stuart Boothman and aquilegia (Granny bonnet). I've also used dog's tooth violets and have lily of the valley and solomon's seal as well. They are all spring flowering but the forsythia, epimedium, hellebore and flowering cherry have a foliage effect.

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