I am thinking of putting some ornamental grasses in a small area near
my property border -- basically to block the view of my compose piles.
The problem is that the area is kind of shady with trees blocking sun
light and rain water. I am under the impression that ornamental grasses
are supposed to be for Full Sun area. Can ornamental grasses do OK in a
Are there other plants that are more appropriate than ornamental
grasses? What I am looking for are:
- Plants that are more than 3 feet tall to block
the view of the compose piles.
- Plants that are less than 6 feet tall because
there is only that much room under the trees.
- Plants that will still be standing in cold winter
(zone 6) if I don't prune them (don't die back
all the way to the ground).
- Plants that will come back year after year.
- Plants don't require much maintenance or watering.
- Plants that can take shady area.
Thanks in advance for any suggestion.
Ornamental grasses in the main require full sun.
Check & see if gardeners have good luck with aucuba in your area, as zone
6 is right on the cusp of their tolerances. Aucuba would meet all the
criteria you list, but if no one grows it in your area it's likely because
winter damage to the evergreen leaves is too great. If others aren't
having good luck with aucuba in your zone, then Pieris is much more
cold-hardy a shade evergreen, though it needs somewhat brighter shade to
bloom. Dwarf cultivars of English yew or Japanese yew would also be a good
Camellia japonica in the Ice Angel or Ice Camellia series might meet your
criteria, two of which are 'Ice Folly' and 'Spring Promise.' A series of
autumn-blooming camellias developed by the National Arboretum are even
hardier for Zone 6b; these are 'Snow Flurry,' 'Polar Ice,' 'Winter's
Hope,' 'Winter's Rose,' 'Winter's Star,' & 'Winter's Charm.' They bloom
well even in considerable shade.
Gable hybrid evergreen azaleas are very cold-tolerant & many of them bloom
surprisingly well even in shade. This is also true of some of the Girard
azaleas which were developed from Gable culivars. The cultivars within
these two groups gain their cold-hardiness & their ability to bloom in the
shade from a commonly available species shrub sold as 'Poukhanense' or
Korean Azalea, itself a good choice though it doesn't keep as many of its
leaves through winter as do the hybrids. All of these are slow growers so
you have to spring for the cost of largish specimens if you expect them to
be three to six feet tall right away.
Another group that is a possibility for bright shade, & which grow a bit
more quickly, are the 'PJM' rhododendrons. The fastest grower larger than
other PJMs is 'PJM Elite.'
-paghat the ratgirl
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