Are you struggling with areas in your landscape where there is too much shade? Consider it a blessing, with a cool respite from our Texas heat, but forget about trying to grow grass under those wonderful shade trees. Bare mulch may be effective, but think of all the colorful alternatives.
Try some of the following shade-loving plants that do well in our area:
• Ground covers: Plentiful varieties include Ajuga, Asian Jasmine, English Ivy, Liriope, Mondo Grass, Periwinkle (or Vinca) and Purple Wintercreeper. How about vines? You might like to try English Ivy – an evergreen that can be used to cover trellises, fences or walls.
• Shrubs: There are many choices of shrubs to choose from. Some of the most beautiful, with flowers and/or seasonal color, are Oakleaf Hydrangeas, Aucubas, Fringe Flowers, Viburnums and all types of hollies.
• Small Trees: Many selections of small trees with flowers, fall color and/or winter berries are Dogwoods, Japanese Maples, Yaupon and Possumhaw Hollies, as well as Viburnums.
• Perennials: Why not begin with our old favorite the Hostas. Try one with variegated foliage to brighten the shade. Columbine provides delicate flowers of red, blue, purple, yellow or white. Gingers have wide, elongated and bold textured foliage with flowers of either yellow, white, red, orange or orchid. A lovely spring bloomer is the Summer Snowflakes with tiny, white, bell-shaped flowers. An all-time favorite is the Purple Oxalis, which has purple shamrock-shaped leaves and dainty pink flowers.
• Annuals: It is hard to beat the variety of Caladiums which come with names such as “Red Flash”, “Fire Chief”, “Rose Bud”, “White Queen” and more. The Coleus is another plant with foliage in shades of red, pink, yellow, white and green, but its best color comes with a little bit of sun. Impatiens are another wonderful option for brilliant color in a shade garden with electric reds, oranges, pinks, salmons, whites, purples and lavenders. Four O’clocks are an old-fashioned annual with bright floral colors and it reseeds freely. There are even some green and white variegated type of Wax Begonias that must have shade almost all day.