Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Full Shade Native Plants and Wildflowers

There are many plants that cannot take the stress of being in full sun or full shade conditions. However, these native wildflowers and plants are all well suited for shade conditions and thrive in it. If you’ve a shady spot in the landscape to fill with wildflowers, these are good choices to choose.

Cimicifuga racemosa (L.) Nutt. (Black Cohosh, Black Bugbane, Actaea racemosa)
This perennial is excellent for borders with its tall spikes and white flowers. It is a member of the buttercup family and prefers deep shade. It will grow up to eight feet and bloom May to September.  Its root was an official drug listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1820-1926. Today it is a popular alternative to estrogen therapy and is in many over-the-counter herbal menopause remedies.

Clintonia umbellulata (Michx.) Morong (White Clintonia)
This perennial grows on eight to 18 inch stems and is abundant with blooms. It will usually have five to 30 small white flowers with purple spots during its bloom season of mid to late spring.  It has wonderfully shiny foliage and dark bluish-black berries. Plant a white clintonia in shady locations and in acidic soil. Propagate by division of clumps, seed, or underground runners.

Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (Pursh) Steyermark (Sharplobe Hepatica, Mountain Hepatica, Hepatica acutiloba, Hepatica acuta)
The sharplobe hepatica grows four to six inches tall with spring-blooming pink, purple or white flowers. Blooms appear March and April. It is a perennial with hairy stems and pointed evergreen leaves. It prefers shaded areas with rich moist soil that is near neutral in pH. Propagate by seed or by clump division.  Seeds are hard to collect and the clump takes a long time to increase, but of the two choices the clump division is the better propagation bet.

Impatiens capensis Meerb. (Jewelweed, Spotted Touch-me-not)
This flower gets two to six feet tall with an 18 to 24 inch spread zone. It likes shade and moist soil. There are pendent gold or orange blooms from July to October. It self sows, so deadhead to prolong bloom life and self sowing if you want it contained. Butterflies and hummingbirds love jewelweed’s blooms, and so will you. This is an herbal remedy: crush leaves to put on bug bites, poison ivy, or razor burn. WARNING: Berries can be toxic if ingested.


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