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This evergreen, rhizomatous, perennial grass has an upright habit, with bamboo-like foliage to 14 inches tall. Flat, linear leaves are sometimes striped yellow. Pale green spikelets turn buff with age.
This spreading tree with a graceful habit bears glossy, dark green leaflets. Thick shoots grow quickly when young—and more slowly as the tree reaches maturity. In fall, foliage turns a handsome shade of yellow and the tree bears clusters of blue-black berries. Deeply corrugated, pale gray-brown bark is a striking feature; unfortunately, it doesn’t develop until the tree matures.
Mock orange is an upright, deciduous shrub grown for its very fragrant, creamy white flowers that bloom in early summer. 'Aureus' has golden yellow leaves in spring that turn yellow-green in summer. Use in a shrub border or woodland garden.
An unusual looking perennial from Turkey and Syria with hooded, pale yellow flowers encircling hairy stems. The flowers somewhat resemble Monarda. Leaves are aromatic and slightly fuzzy. P. russeliana reaches 3 feet tall and nearly as wide. Grow en masse in a border or near a warm wall.
This cultivar of the popular blue phlox has round, full flowers with overlapping petals. It is noteworthy for its particularly rich blue-violet color. Use it in rock gardens or alpine houses, in a dry wall, or as edging.
This is a very fragrant native woodland phlox with powder-blue flowers in spring. Reaching only 1 foot tall, it can spread to almost 2 feet and makes an attractive groundcover under shrubs or planted with other spring-blooming wildflowers. Leaves are semi-evergreen and hairy; stems root along their length. The blue flowers are salverform with petal lobes. This plant attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
This spreading, semi-evergreen perennial has hairy leaves and lavender-blue to pale violet and white flowers borne in open clusters in early spring. Flowers can have notched or unnotched petal lobes. Cultivars include ‘Clouds of Perfume’ with light lavender-blue flowers; ‘Eco Texas Purple’ (dark purple with a violet eye); ‘Fuller’s White’ (white); and ‘London Grove’ (lavender-blue flowers).
This upright, herbaceous perennial has slender, hairy stems reaching 1.5 to 3 feet tall, with clusters of lavender-rose, lilac-pink, or white flowers. The stems often have burgundy spots on them. Blooms appear in early summer and midsummer.
This sturdy, upright perennial reaches 2 to 4 feet tall. In July and August, and through September with deadheading, it bears flowers in shades of white, coral, pink, red, lavender, and violet, depending on the cultivar. Some have a lighter or darker eye, and others have variegated leaves. Many of the cultivars are fragrant; scent is most noticeable at night.
This pure white phlox is valuable in the garden because of its abundant, fragrant flowers, its sturdy growth habit, and its resistance to powdery mildew. Growing to about 3 ½ feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide, it blooms from early summer to early fall. It needs a consistently moist soil. Use it in a border or cottage garden. It will glow at dusk.
This garden phlox has striking, bicolor lavender-and-pink flowers beginning in early summer and displays a pleasing compact form. Its slightly waxy leaves hold powdery mildew at bay, and the plant doesn't even flinch in heat, humidity, or drought. 'John Fanick' grows to 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide.
A dense, vigorous, mat-forming ground cover, creeping phlox has short flower stems from 3 to 12 inches tall. The flowers can be pale lavender-blue, rose-pink, medium violet, or white, with unnotched petals and a yellow center.
Moss phlox is a dense ground cover blanketed with notch-petaled flowers in April and May. Blooms can be muddy hot pink, bright rose, and magenta, while other cultivars include white, soft lavender-blue, clear pale pink to deep pink, clear scarlet, and lavender, some with a darker or lighter eye. Evergreen foliage is narrow, short, and stiff. Darker-flowered forms have dark-green leaves or red-tinged leaves that darken to burgundy in winter.
This New Zealand flax has dark reddish brown leaves that form a neat clump less than 2 feet tall and about as wide. It makes a great container plant.
An excellent architectural specimen, New Zealand flax has a striking geometric shape and intriguingly colored foliage. Rigid, upright leaves to 10 feet long grow in a clump. Cultivars come in chocolate-brown or a mixture of cream, pink, and green stripes. In summer, this Phormium produces a 12-foot-tall spike of tubular red flowers.
This is an upright evergreen shrub with lance-shaped leaves. Foliage emerges bright red or bronze, turning a leathery dark green. Small white flowers appear in mid- to late spring.
'Brilliantissima' rivals hollies (Ilex spp.) in the quantity and crimson color of its fruit. The quarter-inch-diameter, crab apple-like berries hang in clusters amid brilliant foliage that matures to scarlet. Like the species, this cultivar develops into a handsome, multistemmed, vase-shaped shrub that reaches 8 to 12 feet tall and about half as wide.
This evergreen shrub is often grown as a tender perennial where not hardy. It sports long spikes of red, dangling, bell-shaped flowers with yellow throats in summer. It makes a beautiful and unique addition to a perennial or shrub border.
Pale yellow, four-inch-long flowers dangle all around the stems of this evergreen, fuchsia look-alike. Given a long enough growing season, it can reach 5 feet tall and as wide. Where not hardy, grow it as a tender perennial.
This clumping bamboo is native to eastern and central China and can reach 15 feet tall and almost as wide. After two or three years, slender green culms turn a lustrous black. The foliage is abundant and dark green, making a stunning combination with the stems. Grow as screening, in large containers, or in a woodland setting where the stems can be appreciated.
Colorful Selections For Shade
With these striking plants, you'll never need to settle for a sea of green again
by Gene E. Bush
Forget the wallflower varieties - these 10 stars take center stage
by John O'Brien
Conifers for Shade
Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew?
by Christine Froehlich
10 Combinations for Shade
The secret is in using color to pump up the interest in low-light spots
by Inta Krombolz
Bringing Sun and Shade Together
Show off what these extremes have to offer, then unite them with some common ground
by Dan Johnson
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