Gardening expert shares ‘top choices’ for a shady garden – ‘traditional woodland plants’

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Shady gardens can be challenging to keep looking vibrant and bursting full of colour. Gardens that are exposed to less sunlight can make it difficult for certain plants to thrive. Some people will put sculptures, trees, seating areas, sheds and pergolas in shady areas to avoid having to plant anything.

All green plants need sunlight for energy so shady gardens can lead to reduced energy production and growth.

However, there are plants out there that can tolerate shade.

Managing Director of Gardening Express Chris Bonnett shared his top plant picks for a shady garden exclusively with

Chris established Gardening Express in the late 1990s and has a wide-ranging knowledge of plants and gardens.

He said: “For shady gardens, traditional plants would be hostas and ferns.

“There’s a dwarf bamboo called fargesia which is quite good in a semi-shady position.

“You’ve got shrubs like camellia which will also tolerate a bit of shade.

“There’s a lot more out there than you might imagine when it comes to plants in shade.

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“Those are my top choices.”

Hostas thrive in shade and produce pale lilac bell-like flowers in the summer.

Blue, green and variegated hosts will do best in deeper shade.

Fargesia is a modestly-sized bamboo which is ideal for smaller gardens.

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It grows quite quickly so is perfect if you want a screening plant.

Camellia is an evergreen shrub which flowers in late autumn through to winter.

Plant it in autumn or spring in part shade to watch it thrive.

Chris also recommended planting foxgloves and woodland flowers in shade.

He explained further: “Anything that sort of traditionally is a woodland plant will grow in a shady position.

“Foxgloves are quite good. Also, think about your early spring flowering.

“Bulbs like daffodils and bluebells and things like that which traditionally grow before the trees come into leaf in a woodland setting.

“They flower and then it doesn’t matter if there’s shade later on. They will do well in that position.”

Foxgloves thrive in full sun to partial shade to full shade depending on heat.

Bluebells also thrive in partial shade under trees or shrubs but need moist well-drained soil.

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