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Regional Picks: Bold Plants for Shade – Northern Plains

Fine Gardening - Issue 168

1. ‘Othello’ Ligularia

Name: Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 18 to 24 inches wide

Conditions: Partial to full shade; rich, moist soil

“Bold” and “beautiful” are two words that describe every patch of ‘Othello’ ligularia I’ve ever seen. This imposing, clump-forming perennial features large, thick, heart-shaped leaves that are dark green on top and purple underneath. It thrives in massed plantings along wetlands, streams, or boggy areas. While it can tolerate full sun in extremely moist conditions, it prefers the cool soil provided by partial to full shade. Some leaf wilt may occur during the heat of summer, regardless of soil moisture, but it’s nothing to be concerned about. In midsummer, yellowish gold daisylike flowers rise above the plant to brighten the shade. Beware of slugs and snails that are often attracted to the foliage.


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