Planting In the Shade
I have a dilemma—I can't find flowers for our two planters that are in full shade. Making it more difficult, we live in the desert, so it's hot during the day and cold at night. Do you know of container plants that will survive in these conditions?
—Ashley Newman, Las Vegas, Nevada
Melinda:This is definitely a test of your green thumb. Start by checking out what works for your neighbors. Good gardeners frequently borrow and share ideas. Then start experimenting. Try annual vinca (Catharanthus roseus) for continual bloom of white, pink, rose or purple flowers and glossy green foliage. For a bolder effect, plant clivia, which has yellow or orange flowers and wide strap-like leaves that grow up to 1-1/2 feet long. Cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) can give you a vertical accent with its upright green leaves. And green-or yellow-leafed moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia) will hang over the edge of a planter while its yellow buttercup-like blossoms add color. Deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) and variegated yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon variegatum) also are good trailing plants. The leaves provide interest long after the flowers fade. Try a few new plants every year until you find what works. Make sure to record both your successes and failures.