Tons of shade all over your backyard? No fear! Check out five of the easiest shade-loving plants, according to me, Scott McGillivray. These flowers, ferns and leafy greens will add instant beauty to your front and backyard (without the round-the-clock care required by most plants).
Scott’s Secrets for a Low-Maintenance Yard
Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies. The only thing is, I spend so much time working on the vegetable garden that I tend to neglect the rest of the yard. Because of this, when I’m landscaping I tend to go for the kinds of plants and flowers that require very little maintenance.
The other consideration, of course, is light. Unlike at my last house, the new house has a lot of shady areas in the backyard. So now I’m on the hunt for easy, shade-loving plants that fill the space and make it look lush all summer long. Fortunately I worked in a garden centre as a teen, so I can put some of what I learned into practice!
When it comes to ground cover, I’m a big fan of hostas. There are several varieties that come in a nice assortment of shapes, textures and colours, so you can tailor it to your preference. I also love them because they bloom in the summer with sweet white flowers. It’s likely I’ll be putting some of these around the perimeter of the house.
Ferns have a delicate look to them, but they’re actually very hearty. They come back year after year no matter what winter throws at them. That’s my kind of plant! And I have a bit of a soft spot for them because they remind me of the landscape near the old family cottage growing up. You would often see wild ferns growing like crazy on the side of the road. In any case, they’re perfect for the areas below trees where a little bit of light can still filter through. Ferns also work great indoors.
If you want to add some colour to a shady garden, hydrangeas are a pretty option. They come in shades of white, pink, blue and lavender, and the blooms can get really big and robust. I’m not really a flower guy, but they’re really nice for adding a little bit of colour without having to do any extra work. Like ferns, they still need a little bit of light, so try not to put them in areas of deep shade where they never see any sun at all. Just a little will do.
Another great way to brighten a shady garden is with Bleeding Hearts. They get their name from their heart-shaped flowers that bloom early in the spring. Pink is the most common colour, but they can also be red and white. (If it’s shady and cool enough, you may even see more blooms later on in the season.) The foliage is pretty lush during the blooming, but it tends to disappear later in the season, so make sure you’ve got other lush plants nearby to fill the gap.
Japanese Forest Grass
For a little variety, I like to include some Japanese Forest Grass in the garden. The bright yellowy leaves provide a great accent colour, and the unique shape adds some depth and character. The golden variety (which is definitely the most popular) grows best in full shade, and is incredibly easy to maintain. Growing it does take a little patience though, because once planted it will take a few years to really come into its own.