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Shade gardens: annuals

Shaded areas are often the spots in our gardens where we gather for relaxation from the pace of the workday. They offer quiet beauty that can be interesting and intriguing. The variety of foliage color and texture will provide contrast and the addition of annuals for long-lasting color will keep the garden exciting through the summer season.

The best known animpatiensnual for growing in shade is the endless variety of Impatiens (Impatiens wallerana). There are tiny, nearly mat-forming miniatures androbust New Guinea Impatiens with brightly variegated foliage as well as the nearly neon flower colors. It pays to do some homework and determine which one will do the trick for you. Color variety includes solids as well as eye-dazzling mixtures of salmons, magenta, near orange and whites. Impatiens respond to the incorporation of lots of compost in the soil before planting, followed by deep watering.

There is also a tremendous range of Begonias (Begonibegoniaxtuberhyoridaa) available for gardens. Tuberous Begonias must never be exposed to hot sun,and don't tolerate drying out. In the proper microclimate Tuberous Begonias are truly sumptuous. Wax Begonwax begoniaias are much more forgiving. They can tolerate full sun with adequate water but are especially wonderful in dappled shade. WaxBegonias with bronze foliage do better in the sun than the green varities.

Shade in Colorado can be so bright that annuals usually regarded as sun-loving, like Nicotiana, sun-tolerant Coleus and Pansies (Viola wittrockiana), can be superb performers in half-day shade.

For additional information on annuals refer to the following garden publications:


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Updated Friday, April 04, 2014