What will grow in dry shade?

gwtamaraJanuary 1, 2013

Posted by Andree McEwen - 4: I have a 1 acre property just north of Toronto, Canada in zone 4. I would like to plant a woodland type garden under a grouping of five maple trees.
Most of the area is dry and shaded except for the outer edges which receive some mid-day sun. Any suggestions for perennials or low growing shrubs?

Follow-Up Postings:

MRDan - 5: Maples are hard to grow under because their surface roots rob nutrients of everything else. I would try removing some lower limbs for a little more light, and watching for signs of needed fertilizer. Try hosta,
lily-of-the valley, dicentra, aquilegia, hellebores.

Deb Lux - 6: I would try a ground cover such as Epimedium.

Bruce - NH 5: How about trying Dodecatheon amethystemum --amethyst shooting star. It is a native of the northeast and likes a shady spot in woods that dry out in the summer.
The lavender flowers closely resemble those of the florist's cyclamen, but much, much smaller. Check nurseries that specialize in prairie species.

Lise Beausour - 3: I have good success with Lysimachia clethroides in such a site. This plant in invasive in moist soil but has a good habit in drier.

Susan-NC/Z7a: Try Phlox stolonifera. I have had excellent success with the latter grown near tree roots.

Jeremy/MA/Zone 5: Here's a list of dry shade perennials for zone 5. You'd have to look up whether they can take a 4. Anaphalis/ Antennaria/ Artemisia ludoviciana/ Aster divaricatus/ Bergenia/ Brunnera/ Campanula carpatica,
portenschlagiana, poscharskyana, punctata, lactiflora,
persicifolia/ Corydalis lutea/ Eupatorium rugosum/ Galium/ Geranium maccrorhizum/Helleborus foetidus/ Hemerocallis/ Heuchera/ Iberis/ Lamiastrum/ Mertensia/ Polygonatum/ Pulmonaria/ Thalictrum/ Vinca minor/ Viola. That should keep you busy looking at catalogs!

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