long blooming shade flower for a border

rouge21_gw(5)May 1, 2013

I need your advice.

I have a border which is very much in shade much of the day. I am waffling between an annual plant for this border (e.g. some non "Walleriana" impatiens or coleus etc) or alternatively a shade perennial.

Last day while at a nursery I was drawn to the bold and bright colours of the heuchera "Paprika".

And although I am not a heuchera fanatic this one would for sure brighten up this shady border.

But if I do go say for 3 of them I will have them spaced out along the curved border but with a non heuchera, non hosta perennial/annual in between and on either end i.e 4 more plants. And I want this plant to have a flower, preferably non-white and be not too tall (less than 2 feet for sure) given that it is a front border. What flowering shade plant would you recommend? For example I thought of Ligularia "Bottle Rocket".

It would be nice to go for an annual for long continuous profuse flowering...impatiens would be perfect except I refuse to use "Walleriana" impatiens for the foreseeable future due to the continuing downy mildew problem.

I welcome your suggestions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Paprika Heuchera

This post was edited by rouge21 on Thu, May 2, 13 at 11:30

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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

What about a hardy geranium grouped with the heucheras?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:12PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Good thought funnthsun as there are some tough shade tolerating hardy geraniums.(macrorrhizum). But I don't think their flowering duration is long enough for me in this location?

(If we can get a flowering plant I am thinking that 'spikey' vertical flowers would be a good contrast to the mounding form of the heuchera.)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 8:13PM
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funnthsun z7A - Southern VA

Spikes, huh? Well, other than the obvious Astilbe, I thought of Echium Amoenum Red Feathers. It would look awesome with Paprika, but not sure if it would tolerate that much shade? I know it will take part shade, though.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 10:05PM
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cbusgirl(6)

Not spiky - but my fringed leaf bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia) blooms for a really long time. Pink flowers.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 9:08AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Cbusgirl beat me to it. Few plants can match the May-Sept run of continuous blooms for fringed bleeding heart.

You can't go wrong with heuchera either though. That is one plant I can never say no to.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 10:41AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Thanks for the suggestion cbusgirl and confirmation karin_mt. I always thought that (all) "bleeding heart" bloomed in the spring and then come June no more flowers till the following year. And depending on the amount of sun they often go completely dormant? Is 'eximia' very much different in this regard? Tell me more.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 11:40AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I did a little bit of looking and it appears that there are some dicentra that can be prolonged bloomers. For example one that seems more readily available than 'eximia' is the variety "Red Fountain". You have got me thinking.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 11:56AM
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cbusgirl(6)

rouge21 - I also have the non-fringed leaf bleeding heart (dicentra spectabilis) and it does go completely dormant sometime mid-summer-ish. The fringed-leaf type, though, keep going - foliage as well as flowers, until frost.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 2:27PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Right, again I will just echo cbusgirl. I have both types as well and they behave differently from one another. The fringed varieties go on and on while spectablis only blooms in the spring. In our climate spectablis does not go dormant but it ceases to bloom.

One note on fringed bleeding heart varieties. I have tried several: Alba, Queen of Hearts, and Luxuriant. Only Luxuriant has the staying power. The others were pretty wimpy and I would not get them again. I think Luxuriant is a common one.

I had two that I had to move last fall but sadly they did not survive the move. Now I need to buy one, but they are definitely worth it. But I have learned that they do not move easily. Same is true for the spectablis types as well.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 3:57PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I've been thinking about this question and looking at the 'paprika'.... I would do things a bit differently. I don't think you need to focus on looking for a long bloom time - the leaves of the heuchera are really your blooms! Put three or so in front of something dark-leafed like 'Black Negligee' or Hill side Black Beauty' bugbanes and BINGO you have vivid color glowing in front of the dark foliage as a proxy for flowers, plus you have the spiky flowers of the bugbane in late summer (in addition to the more inconspicuous flowers of the heuchera), so you have all-season color without worrying about the flowers too much. Being stuck indoor too much at the moment and looking for things to amuse myself :-) I tried to mock up the picture I 'see', using my landscape software. It doesn't have the exactly right images so take this with a grain of salt! In black and white:

With some color splashed on it:

An option to think about....

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 4:09PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

woodyoak, thank you for spending the time with my inquiry. But with this now very good weather you should be outdoors away from the computer!

This post was edited by rouge21 on Fri, May 3, 13 at 4:36

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 4:20AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Thanks 'karin' for relaying your experience re "Luxiuriant".

I did a bit more looking into "Red Fountain". It seems it is also an "eximia" and so has a long bloom period but this time with (more) red flowers.

By chance have you had experience with this variety?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 4:51AM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Hi Rouge,

No I have not seen 'Red Fountain.' Funny, because originally I tried all the varieties I mentioned above and once I hit the home run with 'Luxuriant' I never had a need to look at other types because the plants thrived so.

Red Fountain looks pretty though - the flowers appear to be more vivid than Luxuriant.

Do you have a local source for them?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 11:19AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

'karin', in fact I think I do have a couple of local sources for "Red Fountain".

Thanks again for the suggestion of such dicentra that are long flowering. I wasnt aware of this and it seems I will make this choice for our shade garden.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 7:39PM
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davidinsf

Howdy

I'm a regular in the dahlia threads but I have a thought.

I have 1/4th of my yard in shade and I get tired of spending $50 a year buying impatiens just for that section so I now have 2-3 Begonias in a pot, surrounded by a 6 pack of corresponding or complementary colors of impatiens around them now.

I was disappointed in begonias originally when first bought because they are small and are not as 'nonstop' as the stores tell you. But once established, my begs now bloom from May until near October (in San Francisco) And the colors are to die for - super bright oranges and reds etc. American Mdws also has some different colors than I can get from my nursery store so other than purple or blue, I believe they come in every other color.

They are small also, (maybe 2' high) and look fabulous in the shade, where my seem to 'glow' at dusk. I'm looking now to buy more but the stores still want $6 a begonia and they will soon be 3 for $10, so I am waiting them out.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:55PM
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echinaceamaniac(7)

The longest blooming shade perennial I have ever grown is a woodland Phlox called 'Wanda.' It looks great with some of the Heuchera like 'Sugar Plum.'

I have the 'Paprika' Heuchera. It is nice too, but it is difficult to find plants it looks good with.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:03AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I have the 'Paprika' Heuchera. It is nice too, but it is difficult to find plants it looks good with.

That is a good point echinaceamaniac i.e. often these newer varieties of heuchera have some very striking coloured foliage...great for a darker area of the garden BUT as you have said the colours can be so...harsh that it is difficult blend it with other plants. I am rethinking my choice of "Paprika".

Heuchera "Havana" has some significant dark pink flowers with very light green foliage. Also "Lime Marmalade" has extra bright lime green foliage.

I think both of these have foliage which is more easily to combo with other perennials.

What do you think?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 12:36PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Thanks 'david' for the suggestion of annual begonias. I love the wax begonias and use them very successfully in my garden but they don't do as well in deeper shade. I do know the tuberous ones are better for such an aspect; putting some in a pot and placing it in the garden is an easy thing to do.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 12:59PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

'karin' wrote: Red Fountain looks pretty though - the flowers appear to be more vivid than Luxuriant.

Do you have a local source for them?

UPDATE

I was able to get 4 of them just yesterday.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:01PM
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echinaceamaniac(7)

I love the lime foliage of those Heuchera. Heuchera 'Paprika' does look good with that color. I also think it looks good with Aralia 'Sun King.' Another new Heuchera I love is called 'Delta Dawn'.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 4:18PM
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echinaceamaniac(7)

I know people have already mentioned Dicentra 'Gold Heart,' but it is awesome as a foliage plant too. If I didn't like the flowers on it, I would grow it just for the bright foliage. It also stays nice much longer than the other Dicentras I've grown.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 4:44PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

I too love the colour of "Gold Heart" but it is much too large a plant for this front border

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 6:02PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

Nice ones Rouge! Those are very pretty and hopefully they will thrive in your shady border. FWIW, the flowers and pretty foliage look nice in a springtime bouquet, mixed with late tulips for example.

I'm looking forward to getting a few more of these for some spots that have turned nicely shady over the past few years. I love their woodland look

What heuchera are you leaning toward? I could see Red Fountain getting along well with some of the burgundy/silvery types.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:11PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

Actually 'karin' the two heuchera I "need" ;) not only will be near these "Red Fountain but will also be be placed close to a new "Misty Blue" Actaea.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 12:42AM
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