Position is everything when planting
GARDENING success is a lot like real estate - position is everything.
You might fall head over heels in love with a gorgeous plant, but if you don't put it in the right position, it may well fade or even die.
Many of the most popular flowering plants thrive in a sunny position.
You are asking for trouble if you put them in a spot where there is insufficient sunlight. They might continue to grow, but the growth will be sparse and lanky. They will be more prone to pests and diseases, which will make them look even worse. They probably won't flower much.
But there are plenty of beautiful plants that will thrive in shady positions, even if there is no direct sunlight at all.
Most bromeliads are spectacular and easy-care shade lovers.
Guzmanias have very showy flower spikes that emerge from the centre of the plant, whereas neoregelias are often more subtle, with small flowers occurring right down in the centre of the leaves. The flowers last for months, and the plants happily reproduce and flower again, year after year.
Although some bromeliads like full sun, most are content in shade or semi-shade. Plectranthus Mona Lavender was released a few years ago and performs really well in shade. It's not related to lavender at all, although the mauve flower spikes are vaguely similar. It does well in the ground and also looks gorgeous in a pot.
Two of the best shade-loving flowering plants are also the most popular flowering indoor plants - spathyphyllums (sometimes known as Peace lilies) and anthuriums (sometimes called Flamingo Flower).
They both have similar types of flowers - a large spathe, which is really a modified leaf, from which emerges a fleshy spike, called the spadix. The spathe on anthuriums may be pink, white, red, orange or purple, whereas on spathyphyllums it is always white.
Of course, a shady garden, protected from drying winds, is perfect for ferns. They love a humid environment, but that doesn't necessarily mean a boggy spot. Maiden hair ferns (Adiantum spp.) just hate wet feet - it is usually just as likely to be fatal as drying out.
Cliveas are fabulous for dry shade - their bright orange flowers are very showy at the beginning of spring.
And then, of course, there are all the foliage plants like philodendrons, cordylines, calathea, ctenanthe and pepperomia, as well as shade-loving palms such as chamaedorea and rhapis.
So if you have a shady garden, you can still create beauty by choosing the right plants.
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