Your shade garden probably is filled with pretty annuals such as lobelia and impatiens, but don’t forget to add perennials, too! While annuals bloom for one season—from the time you plant them until frost—perennials bloom for a shorter period of weeks to months. But they offer unique foliage and flowers, attract pollinators (such as hummingbirds and butterflies) and return for many years, making them a great long-term garden investment.
Perennials that need shade typically will tolerate a few hours of early morning sun, but they don’t like to bake in the afternoon sun. When choosing plants, read the plant tag or description to make sure they’ll survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zones (find yours here). Then dig a hole about two to three times the size of the container, and place the plant in the hole at the same depth it was in the pot. Replace the soil, tamp down and water well.
Caring for shade-loving perennials is pretty simple: Keep ‘em watered during the first few weeks and during dry spells for the first year as its roots get established.
Don’t get too worried if your perennials seem slow to take off. Most perennials don’t do much the first year, then they pick up speed the second year. By the third year in the ground, most really are beginning to show off. Anticipation is half the fun, right?