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Any green thumbs for shade spring plantings?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have a very shady balcony. I got the Coleus to grow well last summer. I need some Ideas for shade loving plants. It would be great if I could grow cat nip. My new place has not so much direct sun light.
post #2 of 13
I'm no professional but I think you could plant hardy geraniums, coral bells, impatiens, begonias, bleeding hearts and most herbs like sage, parsley, basil and mint. I'm thinking cat nip would do good also since mint does well in a mostly shaded place.
post #3 of 13
Caladiums are nice, too!

My catnip grows in a shady area.

post #4 of 13

I love hostas, and have tons of em.... In a nice sized planter you could do one small hosta and several mini's around it....
post #5 of 13
Lungwort does well in shade...as does periwinkle and lily of the valley. I also have a Brunnera that's quite pretty and adores shade.
post #6 of 13
The following plants do well in container gardens. Many of the perennials will go dormant and winter over. If your area gets really cold in the winter you may want to wrap the pots with hot water tank blankets. It depends on which direction your balcony faces. North facing will get the coldest in the winter.

Annuals: Impatiens, caladiums, begonias, elephant ears, torenias and Boston ferns.

Perennials: Hostas, Japanese painted fern, autumn fern, heucheras, tiarellas, Japanese maples (there are some beautiful dwarf forms with red or green leaves), hydrangeas (look for one called 'Endless Summer') and English ivy (good for trailing over the edges of pots).

A shade garden is built around different foliage colors and textures. Most shade perennials bloom for a short period of time compared to annuals. The impatiens, begonias and torenias (look for the newest varieties like Summer Wave) should give you summer long bloom. Endless Summer hydrangea will bloom longer than the older varieties since it can bloom on new growth as well as old.

Hope this helps. Have fun and don't be afraid to experiment.
post #7 of 13
I second the hostas and ferns suggestions. I've kept perennials in containers on my balcony over winter, and have had success with them returning. You do need to wrap them up well though.

My concern with the ivy is that it's poisonous, so consider that if you let your cat out there.
post #8 of 13
Unless the balcony is enclosed in such a way that a cat can't jump off or fall off, I wouldn't let the cat out there anyway. Maybe on a harness and leash and under supervision. If the cat is not allowed out there then you could grow whatever you like.

I have had cats and plants all my life. Some of the plants I have are toxic but I have found that the cats prefer to eat/nibble on the safe plants. My hibiscus (nontoxic) barely make it through the winter indoors with any leaves left. Toxic plants taste/smell bad and most animals will not eat them. If the only thing available to an indoor cat is a toxic plant then, yes, there may be a problem with him/her eating it.

The impatiens, begonias, hostas, coleus and Japanese maple are safe. Keep in mind that some plants just cause stomach upsets with vomiting or diarrhea, while other plants are truely poisonous and can cause death. Each of us has to measure the amount of risk we are willing to take when having plants and cats or dogs.
post #9 of 13
Well pm me since we are practically neighbors!! Once plants actually start growing you can come over and see what I have done. I have a small plant sale and have lots of ideas plus the better places to buy plants in the green Bay area!!
post #10 of 13
I have a really shady spot right behind the house (north side) and the large mock pear doesn't help. Nobody has mentioned it yet, but it's a plant that has always caught my eye - I'd love to plant a bunch of trillium back there.

The only problem I'm seeing is that I can't find that much information on them. Since they are a wildflower (though not native to this area) it seems all I can find is basic info on it being a wildflower.
post #11 of 13
Trilliums are beautiful wildflowers that do best in a shady, moist, humus rich soil with a slightly acid to neutral pH. There are several species. Some species go summer dormant. If you buy the plants, make sure they are seed grown and not wild collected. Trilliums are becoming scarce over much of their ranges due to collection of wild plants for the nursery trade.

In central and western Oklahoma they are difficult to grow because of high pH, drought and heavy clay soil. You will have to prepare a place in the garden just for them and remember to keep it moist.
post #12 of 13
^ I figured that just based on where they grew in Michigan. It's very moist right there (we need to replace a small piece of gutter in fact). And the ground isn't very level in some spots, so I'd have to bring in more soil anyways. I have to every time I prepare a turtle pen (to help level things out and make an easier to dig in soil that holds moisture) so it's nothing new to me.

I know for a fact, though, that none of the plant nurseries here have them. So I would have to order out of a catalog.
post #13 of 13
Another vote for hostas! They are such hardy plants and will even do very well with little or no care.
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