Leafs-icon-kShady Border

More and more of our gardens are shaded by trees and buildings

These garden spaces can be challenging but a dull area can be enriched by careful selection of shade-tolerant plants.

To grow healthy plants in shady areas, it is important to identify the amount of shade that a plant needs or will tolerate. Only a few shrubs will thrive where shade is very dense, particularly if the soil is dry and impoverished. But in most cases the application of organic matter and a general fertiliser will help to provide more suitable conditions for plants to grow.

With plenty of humus and moisture it may be possible to grow spring-flowering bulbs and similar plants, such as snowdrops, anemones, bluebells, lily-of-the-valley and hardy cyclamen. Your planting scheme should have an emphasis on low-growing evergreen shrubs, not the variegated kinds which need good light conditions.

Unfortunately, shade-tolerant plants are in many cases not very colourful in flower, but often there is consolation in attractive or interesting foliage. You can try mixing colour pots and border accessories together with lighting to give contrast and depth.