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Shady Characters, Plant Combinations for the Shade

Add a little interest and variety to your shade garden with beautiful plant combinations.

The bold texture of this Rodgersia creates a nice backdrop for a blue birdbath and other shade loving plants. Watch for the white or pink flowers in summer and keep the soil moist for best results.

For height include some bugbane. It grows about 6 feet tall, pretty unusual for most shade plants. Spikes of fragrant white flowers seem to float over the attractive foliage. Some varieties bloom in summer and others in fall.

The narrow leaves of sedges and the Japanese forest grass provide a nice contrast to the bolder foliage of hostas and other shade plants. Watch how the sunlight captures their beauty and lights up the shade.

The early spring bloomer, Siberian bugloss (Brunnera), provides blue forget-me-not flowers in the spring and attractive foliage throughout the season. The variegated varieties brighten the shade.

A bit more information: Include a few bulbs for early spring color. Virginia bluebells combine nicely with daffodils and hosta. The blue flowers complement the white or yellow daffodil blooms. As their large foliage declines the emerging hosta leaves are ready to fill the void and mask the unsightly leaves. Woodland hyacinths (Hyacinthoides hispanica) resemble a hyacinth but tolerate the shade. The smaller Siberian squill (Scilla) has blue flowers, naturalizes readily and tolerates full sun and shade.

Upcoming Appearances


Jan. 26, 2022
Gardening for Wildlife
(webinar)

Jan. 29, 2022
WCBA's Home Building &
Remodeling Expo

West Bend, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 2, 2022
Small Space Gardening
(webinar)

Feb. 11-13, 2022
PBS Wisconsin
Garden & Landscape EXPO

Madison, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 18-20, 2022
NARI Milwaukee
Spring Home Improvement Show

Milwaukee, WI
(in-person event)

Feb. 23, 2022
Dahlias - Proven Performers!
(webinar)

March 1, 2022
Michigan Green Industry Assn.
Annual Tradeshow & Convention

Novi, MI
(in-person event)

March 5-6, 2022
​​​​​​​Maryland Home & Garden Show
Lutherville-Timonium, MD
(in-person event)

​​​​​​​March 26-27, 2022
​​​​​​​REALTORS Home & Garden Show
West Allis, WI
(in-person event)

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