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Perennials/Hardy and 'showy' shade perennials?


I live in the Canadian praries. I have a large but very shady back yard. I have seen a few nice plants in the yards in the neighbourhood. Can you suggest a few perrennials? Thanks!

I'm sorry I missed your question on my list.  Please forgive me.  Can you tell me what your growing Zone is or what city you are near so I can get a handle on the weather conditions please?  Also, are you interested in low growing, various heights, colors? Shade or sun-loving.  Certain seasons?  One of the things I have done in my Kansas City garden is plan successive blooming times from late March to October so that something is constantly in bloom.  

Let me hear from you soon and again, I apologize in my oversight of your message.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Zone 2A, shade, summer to fall. medium to high growing.

Hi Bud,
This one was a hard one for me.  I'm not too familiar with far north gardening although it does get cold here where I live in the center of the USA.  I did a lot of research and I came up with this list.  It's a little more challenging for you because you are looking for shade plants.

bleeding heart (dicentra), lady in red fern, ostrich fern, alechmilla (Lady's mantle), aruncus, asarum canadense, pipsissewa, lychnis (partial shade), hosta, fringed loose strife, polemonium caeruleum, primula, sedum and star flower.

Another thing you can do, ask your neighbors what is growing best for them.  Maybe they will trade with you or donate some offshoots for your efforts.  Check out your local nursery.  Tell them you are looking for hardy perennials for a shady yard.  Do you have a local garden club?  They can be a great resource too.

I hope this helps.


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Tom Alonzo


I have been a gardener for 20 years with perennials both growing from seed and from nurseries. I went through the Master Gardener Program from Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service and I answered questions on the Hotline a few years ago for the Wyandotte County Kansas Extension Service. I have also lived in the Florida, California, Hawaii, Arizona, Texas, Kansas and Missouri and am experienced with a variety of climates, soils and weather conditions.


I have been growing perennials for over 20 years now. I am self-taught mostly except for a master gardener class. I have experimented with all kinds of perennials including many that are not common to my area. I have read hundreds of books and grown hundreds of varieties of plants and hope to make it a business some day. I have become versed in botanical names and growing conditions and what I don't know off of the top of my head I can usually easily find in my vast array of research material and botanical and horticultural contacts. I especially enjoy experimenting with growing plants out of zone.

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