If you have a bare block and have just moved on you may not be looking for shade plants right now. But be assured that as your garden grows you will have plenty of opportunity for plants which love shade. When you are planning a new garden design it is important to consider where the shade will fall from taller shrubs and trees. Trees or large shrubs to the north of the garden bed may shade far more than you bargained for as will a high hedge on the northern boundary.
If, however, you already have a mature garden with lots of lovely shady spots there are plenty of plants which will thrive in them. Sometimes plants will grow taller in shade than they would in the sun and some of them may need a little pruning if you are keen to keep them compact but on the whole those that like shade will just simply love the extra protection from a big brother tree or shrub.
There are usually a range of shade conditions in any mature garden including………………
# dappled shade such as under a tree with a light canopy,
# part shade conditions such as morning shade or afternoon shade. Areas which have morning shade and afternoon sun (for example west side of the house) are harsher on plants than those which have morning sun and afternoon shade for (example east side of the house)
# summer shade for example under deciduous trees
# full shade for example on the south side of the house or under a dense tree canopy.
# damp shade. In my garden I have damp shade where the envirocycle pumps out.
# dry shade which is at its worst under eucalyptus trees or other thirsty trees
And so to what will grow under Eucalyptus trees. There are plenty of hardy plants which will do the trick if you prepare the planting spot carefully. The trick is to get the plant growing quickly and strongly before the eucalyptus realises what is happening. I dig a decent sized area over for each plant making sure that I cut away surface roots. I mix plenty of compost to the existing soil, making sure there is enough excess soil to create a saucer around the plant for watering. Choose a vigorous looking plant specimen and plant in autumn or winter. Pay attention to the plant for a good couple of years through the summer months, keeping in mind that a little extra water will often make the plant grow faster even if it is a dry loving plant.
Under my own Eucalyptus trees I am growing Senna artemisioides, Philotheca myoporoides and Philotheca Winter Rouge, Eutaxia obovata, Derwentia perfoliata, Dodonaea sp, low and Dodonaea viscosa, Grevillea baueri, Grevillea iaspicula, Hakea salicifolia, Indigofera adesmiifolia, Lotus australis, Prostanthera scuttelarioides, Solanum linearifolium, Westringia glabra and W. Zena, Zieria prostrata, Correa decumbens, Correa glabra, Correa dusky bells, Correa upright pink, Linum marginale, Micrantheum hexandrum, and Banksia marginata.
Growing naturally in my paddocks under the Eucalyptus tree cover are Cheiranthera linearis, Dillwynia sericea, Hardenbergia violacea, Hovea linearis, Indigofera australis and Pultenaea subspicata.
If you are looking for grassland plants Poa labillardiera, Dianella longifolia, D. revoluta and D. tasmanica, Joycea pallida, Lomandra longifolia, L. tanika and L. filiformis and Themeda triandra will all work well.
We have many plants which will fit the bill when it comes to a range of shady conditions. In the next couple of days I will add the full list to the website so keep an eye out for that.
If you need specific advice on your particular conditions talk to either Iris or me when next you see us. We will be at Murrumbateman markets from 9am till 1pm on Saturday 22nd June or give us a call and arrange to come to see us up at the nursery.