NEED Recommendations under Maple

My wife is on my case to get MORE LONG LASTING COLOR underneath our 60 foot tall maple tree. I have success on the street side of it that faces east and gets morning sun, but the west side that is heavily shaded is difficult. The tree is boxed by 4 landscape timbers, e.g. a small square planting area 8 ft on each side with the 2 ft tree trunk in the center (the box is only 4 inches tall or less). I have 4 sedum (one on each side) and planted Ajuga a few years ago as a ground- cover. At first she liked the Ajuga, but now says it doesn't bloom for a long enough duration. She recently came home with 4 purple plants. One each of: Salvia, Red Fox Veronica, Lamb's ear, and Speedwell. The Red Fox Veronica (Pink Speedwell) is almost dead and I just moved it to full sun and watered it well. The needed location is heavily shaded.
What are my options when it comes to perrennials or self seeders that show color over the longest time in zone 4 (Midwest) in shade? Please send as many ideas as possible as I get the idea I will have to try several to make my wife happy.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

<snip>
Most perennials are not ever-blooming. Most flowering plants need sun. Impatients will give you lots of color in the shade until frost.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If you want color you are probably going to have to move pots of flowering plants in and out of the shade to maintain blooming. If you can settle for less than the impossible try going for form/ texture/varigation. Look into lamium, hakone grass, heuchera. Not sure about z4 hardihess on the above but if it were me I'd do some woods walking and see what is native in similar conditions. Perhaps ferns.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I second the pots. You can do beautiful things in pots with all of the standard shade annuals like impatiens, coleus, and now a host of other shade-tolerant plants. You'll never get much go grow amongst the roots of the maples.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If the area around the maple is full of the tree's roots few things will live there. The above plants need sun. You can try impatience/BusyLizzy if you can keep the area moist and it's not full of tree roots.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Silk flowers or paint. Seriously. Your maple casts heavy shade, which definitely makes the choice of species that will grow there into a very small universe. Added to that, maples are very good at grabbing all the soil moisture possible, so you've got intense competition for water. Sounds like you've got a little more light on the street side.
Best choice for color is probably a shade annual like impatiens, in pots being rotated in and out as they go out of bloom from low light. Or fancy-leaved plants like caladium or coleus, ditto.
I'd suggest building a bench around the tree, possibly painting the bench white. Put the pots on the bench, and have a combination of sit spot and pot staging. White also will give you maximum reflectance to the leaves.
Kay
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I understand Begonias do well in heavy shade. I have an area under a couple of trees where I intend to plant some Begonias this Autumn.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

They're not very attractive in heavy shade. They're spindly and have few or no flowers.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Garbodanno wrote:

Seconded. Begonias like shade but need some sun for best leaf color and flowers. OP, avoid planting just for flowers and go with the suggestions for colorful foliage plants *in containers*. Caladium are gorgeous, as are the hostas and huecheras. But it can't be said enough: colorful shade tolerant plants need some sun to put on their best show. If you have your plants in containers, you can move them in and out of light if you have to. Further, you are in Zone 4. Some of your foliage plants (like caladium) need to come out of the cold. If they're in containers it's easy as pie to "lift" them in the fall.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Freckles wrote:

You might consider Firespike. Kinda tropical looking foliage on a small/medium sized plant until fall when there are red blooms on a scape. Does well for me in shade. Dies back to the ground but returns in spring here in zone 8.
http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/1854/index.html
Carl
--
to reply, change ( .not) to ( .net)

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.