Made in the Shade
Rusty Brauner shares his favorite shade plants
Rusty Brauner of Mandeville, Louisiana (shown with wife, Nancy) has had his share of gardening problems. Towering trees destroyed his sun-loving gardens. After replanting shade-tolorant plants, Hurricane Katrina stormed through, leavning his yard a mess.
After lots of hard work and trials of patience, Rusty's yard is now a beautiful haven filled with shade-loving plants. These colorful plants are his favorites for their year-round beauty.
Rusty's Top Shade Picks (Zones 8-9)
Botanical name: Hydrangea quercifolia
This dramatic shrub has large white flowers. The foliage is dark green above, with silvery beneath—turning glowing red in the fall.
Oakleaf can survive in dryer locations than other varieties. It needs well-draining soil to thrive. Expect it to grow 6-8 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide.
Botanical name: Callicarpa americana
This deciduous shrub grows 6-8 feet tall with large green to yellow-green leaves. In spring, tiny lilac flowers appear. By autumn, the flowers give rise to berrylike drupes in striking shades of magenta and violet.
Beautyberry works great in low maintenance natural gardens. It contributes year-round beauty and gives food for wildlife.
Botanical name: Nandina domestica
Also called heavenly bamboo, nandina is a tough evergreen or semi-evergreen broadleaf shrub. Growing to heights of 6 to 10 feet and widths of 3 to 5 feet, this plant looks like bamboo with its cane-like stems and fine foliage.
Young foliage boasts a pinkish hue, which then turns to light green.
Nandina prefers moist, fertile soil. It'll thrive in partial shade, but the foliage becomes more colorful (red-tinged in winter) if planted in full sun.
Botanical name: Asarum species
Growing only 4 to 6 inches, this perennial features large, usually glossy (and sometimes marbled) leaves that conceal purplish, pitcher-shaped flowers.
A perfect choice when planted as a groundcover at the edge of a shady border or grown in a woodland garden.
Grow in partial to full shade in humus-rich, moist but well-draining soil.