Garden Schemes For Semi-Shade – Nearly all the plants that are regarded as sun lovers, as well as those that prefer shade, can be grown in semi-shade, so there is no shortage of species from which to choose. It is the business of combining them that can be restrictive. Plants in one container must all like the same soil type and have similar watering requirements. Watering should not present too much of a problem as most plants like to be kept moist but not soggy. Soil demands can be more limiting, however, as certain plants only grow well, either in alkaline or acid soil conditions.
Acid or alkaline?
An interesting grouping of alkaline-loving plants for a large container could consist of the shrub Mexican orange blossom – either the gold-leaved variety ‘Sundance’ or the fine-leaved ‘Aztec Pearl’ – with fuchsias and evergreen ivies.
Mexican orange blossom, an evergreen shrub, can grow quite large so the container needs to be about 50cm (20in) in diameter. If your garden is not too cold, you could use hardy fuchsias, such as the variety ‘Mrs Popple’, to make a permanent container planting.
Rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias are excellent container specimens for a half-shady position, and all prefer an acid potting mixture. Rhododendrons and camellias grow quite large, so there will be little room for other plants, apart from, perhaps, some spring bulbs and small ivies around the edge of the containers. All three acid-loving shrubs flower in late spring and early summer, but the glossy leaves of most of them form an evergreen backdrop throughout the year. Camellias have the most attractive foliage, but they are the least hardy of the trio.
Plants for semi-shade
You will have little problem finding plants that do well a semi-shady position but you first need to establish what degree of shade you have in your garden. If the light is always bright and there is the possibility of sun for half the day, most shrubs, perennials, and annuals will thrive. If the shade is deep with a shorter period of dappled sun, then woodland plants, such as hellebores, hydrangeas, lilies, rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias generally do best.
Spring plants: auricula, azalea, camellia, cowslip, daffodil, forget-me-not, grape hyacinth, hellebore, hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley, narcissus, pansy, primula, periwinkle, Solomon’s seal, tulip, windflower.
Mexican orange blossom
Summer plants: arum lily, asparagus, astilbe, begonia, bellflower, bleeding heart, coleus, columbine, common rue, creeping fig, fuchsia, hosta, lewisia, lobelia, lily, masterwort, monkey flower, pansy, pelargonium, potentilla, rose, scabious, tobacco plant, yucca.
Fall plants: chrysanthemum, cotoneaster, cyclamen, fuchsia, heather, houttuynia, hydrangea, Japanese maple, pernettya, polygonum.
Winter plants: aucuba, bamboos, bergenia, box, conifers, fatsia, gaultheria, ivy, laurestinum, Mexican orange blossom, pansy, periwinkle, skimmia, winter cherry.