Friday, March 9, 2018

Water Saving Plants for Shade


These beautiful dark green flowered plants grow no more than 2 feet tall and will bloom in bright shade with little more than once every two weeks watering once established (more if planted in a brighter area). 
Clivia nobilis

Clivia miniata

Clivia miniata

 Aspidistra elatior 'Cast Iron Plant'

This plant comes from a tough family, including Nolina and Sansaveria. In fact it is so tough and hardy it has its own song, this plant needs only a glance or two to stay healthy, and as far as water -once every two weeks or less after it's been established (about 2 years).
Aspidistra elatior

 Abutilon 'Chinese lantern'

Hardy and colorful member of the hibiscus family; best trained as an espaliered vine in shade. Water it once every one to two weeks once its established. Blooms in bright shade. 

 Aeonium 'Schwarzkopf' The 'Black headed' Aeonium

A succulent that doesn't mind some shade, its leaves are purple black with green new growth. In sun it will shrink to what looks like small drumsticks, but in shade it should remain lush looking throughout the year.,

 Asparagus meyeri 'Foxtail asparagus'

More kempt and controlled than common springeri ornamental asparagus; meyeri will do well in moderate to bright shade and need watering only once a week to week and a half. Keep vigilant however, as this one can easily grow out of bounds. 
 It lends itself to whimsy as well.

Acanthus molle  'Grecian pattern plant' 

Acanthus molle's common name refers to its ancient use as an inspiration for the decorations on greek marble columns. Like the long lasting columns the plant is tough and can thrive in relatively dark areas. It does, however, die back every summer, only to come back again in the spring. This 'resurrection' was the reason it was considered sacred by the greeks. The sacred and beautiful spike-like flowers however, do have a somewhat 'unholy' smell to some people -and remind the author of semi-spoiled milk.

 Raphis excelsa 'the Lady palm'

Not only a lady but can take an occasional dry week or two once established, not as drought tolerant as others on this list -if too deprived it will lose leaves, but sowly. 

 Amaryllis belladonna the 'Naked Lady'

Bulbs that come up every summer in the shade when nothing else is blooming -Amaryllis require once a week watering when blooming and much less when not in bloom. Does best if it gets a hint of direct sun (about 2-3 hours).
Amaryllis belladonna
Amaryllis belladonna

Spider lily (Lycoris sp.)

Lycoris sp. 

Spider lilies blooming in front of a Spider. 

Creeping fig (Ficus pumila)
This is one of the few vines that do ok in shade. Remember to cut this one back every 5 years or so; if you don't it could develop robust flowering shoots that do not cling to the wall and take up valuable space.

Ficus pumila

Snake plants (Sanseveria sp.)

Tough plants related to Aspidistra, they have the nickname 'Bachelor Plant' because they are so tough even the negligent can keep them as houseplants. They are also excellent outdoor plants and can tolerate a good amount of shade. 

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina sp.)

Normally planted in sunny areas, it will survive in bright shaded areas as well with watering only once every one to two weeks. 
Nandina sp. 

Nandina sp. 

Natal Plum (Carissa sp.)

This South African native shrub actually tolerates light shade and can be used as a hedge in bright shady areas. Once it's established it needs watering every two to four weeks in a shady area. 
Carissa sp. 

Variegated dwarf Carissa

Berberis (Mahonia) repens

This low growing, creeping ground cover can go a month without water once established. Great companion for native oaks. 

Berberis (Mahonia) repens

Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)

The Western redbud is an understory tree that grows natively in the Sierra Nevadas and other western mountains. It will bloom in bright, filtered shade or with several hours of direct sunlight. Once established (about two years) it can go 2-4 weeks between waterings. 


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