Shade plants

Asked July 9, 2013, 2:10 PM EDT

Summer 2014 backyard wedding. What should I plant now in shaded yard for color next July?

Marion County Oregon

1 Response

Hello and thanks for asking about your plans for next summer. This is a great time to be shopping, as generally what is blooming now in the nurseries will be blooming again next year, if perennial. Do ask when purchasing if the bloom-time is natural or due to special growing conditions, as sometimes plants are encouraged to bloom early for better display at the nursery.
For a beautiful shade garden every time of year, consider foliage textures and colors in addition to blooms. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra) comes in striped and bright foliage, also painted fern (Athyrium niponicum), and others too many to list. Flowers on shade perennials will not be as plentiful as a sun garden that includes annuals. For this reason, pots and baskets grown in the sun and moved to the shade garden for a special occasion are sometimes used.
There are other considerations for choosing plants, like your soil type, the depth of shade, and pests (do you have deer?). I suggest you talk with the nursery staff everywhere you shop, also consider touring some gardens in your area this month for ideas, and follow-up with your local Master Gardener Volunteers as questions develop. Marion County Master Gardener Phone: 503–373-3770, Email:, Office Address: 3180 Center Street NE, Room 1316, Salem OR 97301. Phone and Walk-In Hours: Monday - Thursday 9 AM - 1 PM and 2PM – 5 PM (April - October).
Best wishes with your planning.