Tall Plants for Shade

These tall, shade-loving plants look great in a container on your patio.

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios
  • Popular Japanese Maple

    Acer palmatum

    The deciduous Japanese maple has many cultivars, all grown for their spring leaves, attractive summer shape, and fall colors. Protect from cold winds and late frost. The slow-growing, mound-forming var. dissectum has finely divided leaves.
    Height: 4 feet
    Spread: 6 feet
    Hardiness: Fully hardy plants
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade, full sun

  • Evergreen Spotted Laurel Acuba Japonica

    Aucuba japonica

    Evergreen spotted laurel makes a rounded shrub with shiny leaves and mid-spring reddish purple flowers; females carry red fall berries. Forms include self-fruiting 'Rozannie' and gold-splashed 'Variegata'. Water well and give liquid fertilizer in summer.
    Height: 6 feet
    Spread: 6 feet
    Hardiness: Fully hardy plants
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade

  • Red Camellia Blooms in Early Spring

    Camellia japonica

    Species and cultivars flower in early spring, in shades of red, pink, and white. A superb evergreen shrub for a large pot filled with ericaceous soil and given protection from cold winds and early morning sun. Prune lightly for shape after flowering.
    Height: up to 6 feet
    Spread: up to 4 feet
    Hardiness: Fully hardy plants
    Soil Preference: Most, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade

  • Pink Camellia

    Camellia x williamsii

    The advantage of x williamsii and its cultivars is that some flower in late winter, others in early and late spring. The color range is silver-white to deep pink. Compact pink 'Donation' starts flowering in late winter. See C. japonica for growing conditions.
    Height: up to 6 feet
    Spread: up to 4 feet
    Hardiness: Fully hardy plants
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade

  • Japanese Plum is Great Foliage Tree

    Eriobotrya japonica

    Evergreen loquat is a great foliage shrub (or small tree) with striking, leathery leaves reaching up to 12 inches long. After a long, hot summer it produces hawthornlike white flowers, opening in fall from woolly buds. Provide sun and shelter.
    Height: 6 feet
    Spread: 6-10 feet
    Hardiness: Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade, full sun

  • Fountain Bamboo Leaves

    Fargesia nitida

    Fountain bamboo makes a tight clump of purple-green stems that arch gently. An open position is best; avoid deep shade. Use a straight-sided pot filled with a mix of soil, peat-based mix, and composted bark. Water well and fertilize in summer.
    Height: 10 feet
    Spread: 3 feet
    Hardiness: Fully hardy plants
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade

  • Tree Ivy

    x Fatshedera lizei

    The tree ivy is a climbing evergreen shrub that needs a support. A cross between ivy and fatsia, its large, shiny, leathery leaves outclass the tiny greenish fall flowers. A good choice for a lightly shaded wall, but protect from severe weather.
    Height: up to 6 feet
    Spread: 3 feet
    Hardiness: Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade, full sun

  • Graceful Ginger Lily

    Hedychium densiflorum

    One of the tallest perennial ginger lilies, it comes from the Himalayas and makes a real impact. It has long, glossy, pointed leaves and, at the end of summer, packed clusters of tiny orange or yellow flowers with a superb scent.
    Height:
    Spread:
    Hardiness: Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Full sun

  • China Blue Vine

    Holboellia coriacea

    An exceptional, underrated evergreen climber, making strong growth with richly scented spring flowers (the males are mauve, the females greenish white). Provide a sheltered site in light shade or full sun, and wall wires to support the growth.
    Height: 11 feet
    Hardiness: Plants that survive outside in mild regions or sheltered sites
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade, full sun

  • Showy Calico Bush

    Kalmia latifolia

    The calico bush is a dense shrub with shell-pink flowers opening from crimped buds, from late spring. The best forms include 'Freckles' with pink flowers and a spotted rim, and 'Pink Charm'. Grow in ericaceous soil; trim lightly after flowering for shape.
    Height: 5 feet
    Spread: 5 feet
    Hardiness: Fully hardy plants
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade, full sun

  • Osmanthus Evergreen Shrub with Fragrant Flowers

    Osmanthus x burkwoodii

    A top choice for the scented garden, this evergreen rounded shrub has a liberal covering of tubular white flowers in mid- and late spring. Shiny leathery leaves enliven the show all summer. Water well over summer, giving a monthly liquid fertilizer.
    Height: 5 feet
    Spread: 5 feet
    Hardiness: Fully hardy plants
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade, full sun

  • Common Yew Good for Geometric Topiaries

    Taxus baccata

    Good for topiary, evergreen yew can be cut into geometric forms. 'Standishii' is a good cultivar for a pot; at 4 feet high and 24 inches wide, it makes a golden yellow column. Trim for shape in late summer. Berries are produced on female plants.
    Height: 8 feet
    Spread: 4 feet
    Hardiness: Fully hardy plants
    Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained soil
    Shade Preference: Partial or dappled shade, full sun

Excerpted from Simple Steps: Containers for Patios

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2007

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