When shade covers a large portion of the garden, as is the case in most gardens in the Mother City, it can be challenging to fully apply your creative genius. However, a thriving garden in the shade is possible. So not only can shady places provide cool, refreshing areas of beauty during summer’s heat, it can also contribute colour and interest to the landscape throughout the growing season.

Assess your Canvas

The first step is to be aware of how the shade shifts daily and throughout the year – including trees and how they will possibly grow over time. Large trees have widespread roots and this limits the amount of water and nutrients received by smaller plants in the garden. It is also important to know which areas of the garden have deep shade and which parts have partial or light shade.

Once that is out of the way, you can move on to the fun part. Whether your client is a foliage or flower fan, at New Plant Nursery there is a wide variety of indigenous plants available that will do well in filtered light, deep shade, or even a wetland environment. Let’s take a look at just some of the plants available:

Plants for full shade

Plectranthus ‘Mona Lavender’ [PBR] :The foliage is glossy and the plant has a shapely, upright habit. It grows to about 75cm in height and is drought tolerant, remember to cut back after flowering.

Clivia miniata: Its has broad, dark green strap like leaves and beautiful dense umbels of large orange flowers that  have made this a desirable plant internationally for many years. A good pot subject.

Partial or light shade.

Carissa macrocarpa: An attractive dense thorny shrub, that grows to about 1-2m high, which makes it a good security hedge. Large white scented flowers and big red edible berries.

Barleria repens ‘Purple Prince’: An excellent ground cover or low shrub for full sun or semi shade. It glossy green leaves with royal purple flowers. Can be easily pruned to form a low hedge. Prune lightly after flowering.

To give these plants the best chance of flourishing plant them during the wettest period of the year. You might also want to build raised beds above the large trees/shrubs roots. Whether you want a stylish shady backyard patio or bring life to a woodland path, a well-thought-out design and carefully selected plants are essential.