Shorter growing perennials and shrubs for ground cover in shade

Shorter growing perennials and shrubs for ground cover in shade
Shorter growing perennials & shrubs that are good for ground cover keeping weeds down & that can grow in shade.
Please check on our website for details of varieties, sizes & growing conditions-www.Caths Garden
Some of these plants can be planted under taller growing plants. Most are grown for their attractive foliage to create interest rather than flower. Dense planting requires little maintenance & minimum weeding as long as they have adequate moisture especially when newly planted. Add compost when planting & finish with a mulch to retain moisture & nutrients.
  • Acers (Japanese maple) – Attractive foliage in spring & summer. Some varieties produce wonderful autumn colour. Need a sheltered position.
  • Dwarf Astilbe-Green foliage & red, pink or white flowers in summer. Likes a very moist soil.
  • Athyrium niponicum (Japanese Painted Fern)-very attractive & unusual foliage that is red & green but overcast with silver making fronds look ghost-like.
  • Brunnera-cut off dead flowers to encourage larger leaves. Spring flowering.
  • Ferns generally- green foliage, non-flowering, attractive fronds of different shaped make lovely carpets. Low maintenance. Can grow in woodland situations. Very hardy.
  • Geranium maccrorhizum-Summer flowering perennial-cut back after first lot of flowers to encourage repeat flowering. Leaves turn bronze & red in autumn. Plant with snowdrops & Colchicum around a tree or shrub for extra spring & autumn interest. Sheer off straggly leaves in September so that autumn crocus can be seen. Loved by bees, butterflies & other pollinators. Resistant to rabbits & deer.
  • Hakonechloa (grass) – bright golden foliage stands out in the shade & flutters in the breeze.
  • Hedera helix (English Ivy) – Quick growing evergreen that does well under trees where most other plants won’t grow. Toxic to animals & humans.
  • Helleborus-evergreen. Flower in late winter & spring so good for pollinators. Usually green leaves but some newer varieties have attractive white/silvery marked foliage.
  • Heuchera – don’t plant too deep. Wide variety of colours-plum, reddish, marmalade, golden, green or variegated foliage. Summer flowering. Some varieties are evergreen.
  • Hosta-wide variety of leaf colours from various shades of green to leaves edged/shaded with paler green, yellow, cream or white.
  • Hydrangea-dwarf varieties-shrubs which will grow under a tree canopy or in a shady shrub or mixed border.
  • Liriope – Looks like a grass but is a member of the Lily family. Lavender or white spiked flowers in summer over dark green blades. Likes a moisture retentive soil but will rot if soil is too moist. Can be mown or cut down to ground level in late winter before new growth is produced. Good for edging or mass planting under trees or shrubs.
  • Primula vulgaris AGM (English primrose)-Can be planted under trees & shrubs. Flowers in spring & then produces a blanket of leaves from summer to late winter. Self-seeds so spreads quickly. Will also grow on slopes & banks or at the bottom of hedges.
  • Vinca & Lamium also provide good ground cover but can be invasive although they are easily weeded out. Lamium is a member of the mint family. It will choke out small plants so site it carefully under tough perennials or shrubs. Vinca minor is a fast growing evergreen, tolerant of drought & will grow in rocky, clay or sandy soil. A very tough plant that is more difficult to pull out. Plant where a thick ground cover is needed.
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