Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Planting Color In Shady Garden Beds

Petunia, Lobelia, Calibrachoa, Impatiens

Shaded beds get a bad wrap for not being able to paint a colorful picture during the summer months.  While many Annual flowers are full sun lovers there is a huge selection that tolerate shade.  My buddy, Jay likes to refer to Annuals as "One Timers" as a way to remember they only last one summer season.  

Shadier Area in the Bed
 One side of my house is planted with dwarf fruit trees with tons of planting space below. There are sections that receive more sunlight than others, given what type of tree is planted there.  The columnar apple trees receive a lot of sun around their base because of their compact nature while the peach and cherry trees do not because of their reaching branches.  

Pink Impatiens

The most common annual flowers used to add color to shade are begonias and impatiens.  They can be absolutely lovely but who doesn't crave a little more variety than chocolate and vanilla!  

First you need to establish how much shade your bed receives.  Is it truly a deep shade area?  If so, you can plant flowers labeled for partial shade but just know they aren't going to do much after planted.  If you decide to go this route make sure to buy a decent sized plant since it isn't going to grow much.  Also double check the tag reads "partial shade".  

For a bed that receives a little sun but mostly shade there are a ton of options for flowers.   

Here are a few of my favorites
*Lobularia-looks like alyssum 
*Petunias-certain varieties
*Nemesia-certain varieties
*Calibrachoa-certain varieties

My only tips for shade beds are simple.  
1).  Read the plant tag when buying.  If it says Full Shade, don't plant it in the full sun.  straightforward
2).  If the ground looks dry around the flowers or the plant is starting to wilt, water.  
3). Don't leave the ground sopping wet for extended periods of time because that will lead to disease and mold.  

All  of these gorgeous flowers are courtesy of my life long friends at Arai Nursery.  I grew up with the owner's daughters and have been playing in and out of the greenhouses since we were little.  Many thanks to Mike and Becky for helping to annually fuel my gardening enthusiasm with so much color.  


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