PhotoWhen you are planting your garden, light is a big factor. What time you get your sun and how much of your garden is covered. There is a flipside to this and it's shade. 

Gardening in the shade doesn't have to be frustrating. Some plants will tolerate relatively low light, and a few actually thrive in it. Like anything there are always options. Most likely you will want to take a look at flowering annuals, perennials, bulbs, and woodland plants for color. There are plenty of ground covers you can investigate and they do well in shaded areas.

If your shaded area isn't pitch black but just lightly shaded, you could try a few herbs or leafy vegetables. Take note that flowering annuals do not bloom well in heavy shade; they all blossom more profusely as light is increased. Some annuals, however, do better in light shade than in full sun, which may fade colors or cause wilting the moment there is any moisture stress.

Brief glimpse

You have to figure out how much light your plants will actually be getting. The biggest challenge will be areas under big shade trees or the overhang of a building. If you can get a glimpse of sun for a brief period of time all the better. There are numerous plant choices you can make in these locations, though by no means as many as are possible with five or more hours of direct, full sunlight.

Something else to consider with shade is that your moisture level can pose a problem. If you are under a tree or an overhang it will be a covering and actually keep your plants from getting adequate moisture.

Trees and shrubs will be fighting to get that water to survive. The watering will become your responsibility, even when it seems you are getting a ton of rain, it will never reach the plants down to the roots effectively so you will have to compensate.

What will help you is a balanced fertilizer and then follow that up with one or two extra applications as you get into the summer. It will help so your plants don’t have to compete with tree and shrub roots. You can always plant above ground if you are worried about the trees and shrubs posing a problem.

For the most part plants that work well in the shade will do best in well drained, relatively fertile soil.  Your local County Extension Office can supply you with additional materials on specific shade -tolerant plants.


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