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Tips for Shade Planting

Shade plants create lush and beautiful landscapes. Lining pathways and around trees, shade plants will create a lifetime of enjoyment with the proper care. Always test the soil to ensure that the pH level is accurate. Observe your yard at different hours of the day to ensure the shaded plants receive the right amount of shade and sunlight. Too much or too little sunlight will hurt the plant. Moisture content is also very important, so always determine the soil moisture in your landscape.


Layer wood chips or shredded mulch 2 to 3 inches thick around your shade plants. Make sure to keep it off the base of the plant. Keep a 1- or 2-inch ring around the plant free of mulch. In the fall use fallen leaves to mulch around the shade plants. For no cost and little work, fallen leaves are an eco-friendly mulch and ideal mulching material because they emulate what naturally occurs in the environment. Mulch ensures that the soil remains moist, ideal for shade plants. When the mulch decomposes, the shade plants eat up the nutrients and thrive.


Regular water is key to the success of shade plants, especially if they are growing under trees, as the trees drink up surrounding moisture. This can leave surrounding shade plants little water for their own vitality. So, during dry periods and if the shade plant is near a large tree, water frequently to allow the shade plant to thrive. During other times of the year, water weekly and deeply to promote root growth. Deep watering can be defined as a 5-minute minimum soak so the water penetrates the roots and flowers around the plant. Deep watering is better for the plant than many light waterings throughout the week.


Pruning trees and bushes around your shade plants allows for some sunlight to hit the plants. Prune the surrounding plants and trees so the light penetrates the space above, which will allow the shade plants to thrive. Always pick off the old or dead leaves or flowers on your shade plants. This will free up the nutrients to your plant while extending its life. Pruning is essential for all shade plants.

Soil Testing

Take a soil test to ensure that the soil your shade plants are growing in is ideal for those specific plants. Knowing exactly how alkaline or acidic the soil is will allow you to plant specific shade plants to that soil. If the plant is not in soil with the ideal soil pH, it will never flourish.

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