Right Plant For The Right Place
Getting the Right plant for the right area in a garden is a tough decision many aspiring (and even veteran gardeners) struggle with, however we have a full guide on our site with lists of different plants for different areas, please read until the end and visit this guide on our Site to see the full list, however below are a few choices of plants from each section that I feel deserve special mention and perhaps a space in your garden!
Normally a lot of people discount shaded areas as being able to put plants into the ground, however that is not true, there are plenty of plants which thrive in heavy shade:
Elaeagnus - These plants are an extremely Robust and sturdy plant as they will thrive under almost any conditions and look fantastic as well! to give you an idea of just how tough they are, usually they are planted in coastal areas where they are exposed to cold and salty air that would stop most plants in their tracks.
Rhododendron - Again an extremely hardy and robust plant (It would need to be to grow in shade) but a great looking plant as well. Generally for the first couple of years of life the Rhododendron is a little different than other plants as it tends to grow more outward and then will grow in height. Obviously the Rhododendron is great looking plant with many different colour flowers, so many that I'm sure with enough searching you could get them in almost any Colour!
Plants Suitable for North and East facing Walls - you always think of cold, shady borders when you see north and east facing but with our suggestions you will finally see some colour:
Choisya - They come in a variety of colours and types, but most Choisya fit in well in any border, they are usually picked out for their attractive and aromatic leaves and bright five petalled flowers that emerge in late Spring/Summer.
Photinia - An evergreen shrub with leathery, dark green leaves which are bronze to red when young with small white flowers that are produced in spring. Photinia's are Ideal as a screening plant as well as a stand alone specimen and grow well in most areas however just make sure to not have it sat wet as that is one thing they do not enjoy!
Now those are some of the hardiest shrubs that grow in shade or sun, however if you live in a city and get a lot of smog/air pollution and still want some greenery for your garden, then a few of these suggestions may be just what you need.
Euonymus - A great and hardy shrub that if you want an alternative to Buxus Hedging without worry of box caterpillar etc then this is for you. It will grow in nearly any position in the garden but prefers full sun and well draining soil. It comes in many Varieties however the most popular one we have is the "Green Spire" Variety as it is an upright variety that gets to be very dense and will produce beautiful fragrant flowers.
Viburnum - Such a versatile plant as not only can it be grown just as a shrub but also can the grown and shaped into may different looks and grafted onto stems to give you standard Viburnum trees (see photo below). However while they look fantastic, given a chance they will withstand even being close to cars or other industrial/smoggy areas. For example I have driven through plenty of villages where Viburnums have been incorporated into roundabouts or in car parks.
As you can see the Standard Viburnum is a great tree that no matter the conditions is a beautiful plant and will fit in your garden.
Camellia - The Camellia is a vibrant plant you frequently see in lots of different gardens, they prefer a slightly more shaded spot and sheltered from the wind to really do well, however most varieties will tolerate sunnier areas. just make sure when planting to use an ericaceous compost as the Camellia prefers a slightly Acidic Soil (Planting in a pot would be a good idea in case the other items in your garden are not a fan of acidic soil)
Plants Suitable for Clay Soils (neutral to slight acidic) - these tend to be quite hard to dig and plant in, they can also hold water more than regular areas but in hot weather end up being quite dry areas.
Juniperus - Used for everything from Specimen plants, screening and even making Gin! (In Case you were wondering then Juniperus communis is usually the plan most commonly used in making Gins and imparting that note of Pine into the drink) However they as you can see by being listed here they are fine to be used in Clay Soil as they are an extremely hardy plant and once planted will do well in most areas of the garden so really a very robust and hardy choice.
Magnolia - Again a very well known plant that is used all over the world in many different gardens with all its different varieties, but the reason why they are so popular is probably because of how good they look, but also the fact they are such a hardy plant. They can either be deciduous or Evergreen so make sure to double check on yours before you buy them!
Plants Suitable for Shallow Soil Over Chalk - not much room for plants with roots that go quite deep
Yucca - This plant is a very unusual tough plant originating from Texas. The thin needle like foliage forms a blue crown over a cream trunk. Ideal for the hot border or jungle planting.
But also because its roots tend to not go too deep they are the perfect plant if your border does not have too much depth. they also have the added benefit on not needing to be watered too often as they are used to having more hot weather and droughts.
Aucuba - Or Spotted Laurel are evergreen shrubs cultivated for their bold alternate leaves. Females bear large red fruits and are extremely hardy.
Aucubas can tolerate full shade so they are ideal for planting underneath a tree. They will also tolerate dry soils and salty winds.
They are best used as a hedging plant or as a specimen shrub. With the exception of a water logged soil, Aucubas can be grown in just about any conditions. They should be watered freely and fed a monthly fertiliser.
Vinca - or Periwinkle are slender stemmed evergreen shrubs or perennials which have simple paired leaves and colourful five pettaled flowers.
They are very easy to grow and enjoy dry soil and full sunlight; this will increase flowering. Vinca do not need pruning but they can be cut back occasionally. They can be trimmed in early Spring and should flower again in the same year.
Plants Tolerant of Both Extreme Acidity and Alkalinity - a good all rounder that can take both types of soil in case you are not sure on the PH of your soil:
Ligustrum - Ligustrum Delavayanum or Ionandrum is a great plant for topiary. It can be quickly grown and shaped into all manner of shapes and sizes. They have tightly packed evergreen leaves and black berries in winter. In very cold times they may lose some leaves but will re-break in the spring.
They require clipping regularly to keep the shape and feeding with plenty of general purpose fertiliser. As with all shaped plants, when they are grown in pots they need special care in winter to protect the roots from freezing hard.
You can wrap the pot with sacking and if possible bring them up to a more sheltered spot out of driving winds
Taxus - Or Yew, there is nothing more stately and quintessentially British than a yew hedge. There are several forms of Yew but only really Baccata are mass grown for evergreen hedging. They are a little slow growing, so buy as big as you can afford, but once established they make a perfect formal hedge.
Plants Suitable for Damp Sites - this is where the soil really holds the water and can sometimes sit slightly wet
Cornus - Otherwise known as Dogwood they are a very colourful deciduous plants that despite losing leaves in winter will still provide great colour through your border as the stems of many of these plants are bright red or yellow colour and are a really stunning change of pace in a winter garden.
Foliage turns rich Red and Purple in Autumn depending on the specific variety. Cornus are best planted in a woodland garden or as a specimen tree. Dogwood are fine in Damp Sites, ideally they grow best in well draining areas so if you can improve the soil you will be rewarded for your effort by this plant!
Salix - The classic, you knew it would be on this list somewhere, but the Willow tree is an iconic tree -originating from China - you always find near rivers or ponds for good reason because they thrive in wetter soils!
Renowned for their attractive fluffy catkins in spring time and colourful bark. They were introduced to Europe and the Americas as ornamental trees and are now well recognised due to their large characteristic canopy, short trunk and lance-shaped bright green leaves.
Weeping Willows form dense root-mats on the soil's surface or in shallow nearby water. They reproduce by dropping seeds which have long silk like hairs forming a small parachute. These seeds can then be carried for many miles by water or wind.
Phyllostachys/Pseudosasa - Despite being different varieties of plants they are both Bamboos and will work well in slightly wetter areas as Bamboo tend to want to be well watered to the point where they like their soil to ideally always be fairly moist.
Again, thank you for reading my Blog, please consider these choices for your garden and if any of these plants didn't quite hit the mark then check out the full list online here. Or one of our many other Blogs on the website here.
And that covers most of the sections and has highlighted a few of the stand-out plants from our online guide (link below) and hopefully has helped to give you a background on a few of these plants to make the daunting choice of what plant to pick a bit easier by looking at what will work for your area.