16 Aug 2012

Taking Care of Shade-Loving Plants

Posted by bcsands

There are a number of shade-loving plant species, and if treated well, they will look really magnificent in a shade-house, under a patio or even under the shade of a large tree. When placed around in pots and hanging baskets they can instantly transform a barren space into a colourful and lush, green tropical retreat.

Arranging the Watering for Shade-Loving Plants

When you plan the layout of your shaded area, you will need to think about watering. Unless you love spending your days watering the plants by hand, then setting up a watering system is essential. Use a combination of sprayers and drippers because shade loving plants need to have both wet leaves and soil. An automatic or manual reticulation timer is also a time saving tool.

For water efficiency it is a good idea to position the hanging baskets in place first, and then allowing the water to drip down into another plant underneath, creating layers of colour and foliage without wasting water. You do this by positioning the most appropriate plants under and around the hanging baskets. This means that if the hanging basket has a plant that grows or climbs upwards, then placing a taller pot plant underneath is perfect. But if the basket contains a plant that will hang or droop, then a short, wide plant is the best choice for the ground or shelf beneath.

Another way to keep that inviting green look happening throughout the seasons is to place perennial shade-loving plants in between the flowering species to keep an even leaf coverage when the flowering has faded. This means that even if nothing is in flower, your shade area will still look green.


Soil for Shade-Loving Plants

Shade-loving plants in their natural habitat are usually in places such as forests or jungles, which mean that they have certain soil requirements. The soil you choose for your plants should be very well drained and the pH needs to be towards acid. You can adjust the soil pH with a variety of soil additives and conditioners, but make sure that the soil is definitely well drained or your plants will suffer.


Choosing Shade-Loving Plants

When it comes to choosing plants, just picking what you fancy without knowing any of the names is a perfectly acceptable way to go, but in case you like to turn up with a list, here are a few guidelines to look for when shopping for shade-loving plants in a nursery or garden centre:-

  • Make sure the plant is healthy and growing, preferably in more than one stem.
  • If choosing a flowering plant, try to buy it actually in flower. If the plant you have chosen is not flowering then look at the flowers on the ones around it.
  • When choosing evergreens, find ones with different foliage colours such as pinks, reds, oranges and even greys. They will contrast and compliment the greens of flowering plant leaves.

Aside from the exotics, there are of course Australian natives that like the shade too, so if you want a native feel to your shaded area, ask at your local nursery or garden centre. Whatever you choose or however you make your selections, taking care of your shade loving plants can become a real pleasure.

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