Shade Loving Perennials for Spring Color
Transform wooded or shady spots in your backyard into a festival of spring flowers by tucking early-bird perennials into every bare corner. Easy-care perennials such as columbine, English daisy, viola, bleeding heart,
In my Iowa garden, my wife Karen and I relied on this cheery palette of perennials to brighten our view under a canopy of towering maples and oaks. Over the years, these plants slowly spread through the garden carpeting the forest floor with bold color. Columbine, in particular, generously tossed its seeds about at will, eventually blooming in every nook and cranny. It’s a carefree native plant that’s nectar rich and a favorite of hungry migrating hummingbirds.
The key to success with all of these scrappy little perennials is to plant early so they can establish a strong root system before hot summer temperatures arrive. Just be sure to tuck them into loose, rich, fertile soil that doesn’t stay
Of course, you don’t need your own woodland to enjoy these shade dwellers. All of them will thrive in shaded beds along the north side of your house, against a privacy screen, or in a narrow side yard. You can also mix and match them in large containers and use them to brighten a dark deck, balcony, or patio.
It’s also smart to remember that perennial flowers have a specific bloom time and won’t provide continuous color through the growing season. To beef up the color be sure to include some shade-loving annual flowers into your plan. Begonia, impatiens, New Guinea impatiens, caladium, pansy, and coleus make excellent colorful companions for early-bird perennials. Just wait until frost danger has passed before you add the annuals.
Written by Doug Jimerson