Perennial Options For The Shade

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(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Since you can’t really plant those regular shade impatiens this year because they have a disease called downey mildew, this is a good time to put perennials in those shadier spots so you won’t have to crawl under conifers and shrubs to plant so many annuals every year.

Easy-to-grow native perennials include ferns – from Sensitive or ‘Bead’ fern (seen in the photo) to Cinnamon, Maidenhair and on, to our evergreen Christmas Fern.

Or, fill in with the fabulous foliage of native perennials like Tiarella, whose bloom is as delicate as its nickname, ‘Foamflower;’ or the increasingly popular Heuchera, known as Coral Bells, which has lovely leaves that come in a painter’s pallet of crazy colors these days.

For late summer and autumn color, Chelone or ‘turtlehead’ offers bright pink, purple or white flowers in moist shade, while our lovely little native wood asters happily bloom in dry areas under tall trees all fall.

Of course, you can always add a few annuals at the front of your beds for extra pops of color. But by planting lots of native perennials now to fill in shady spots, you’ll save yourself a lot of work for years to come.

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