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shade garden

Q: I need some small tree or shrub plant ideas for a very shady site.

A:   Consider layering by using shorter plants in the front and taller plants behind.  For shorter plants you might use holly fern, coontie or Indian hawthorn. The taller shrubs could be viburnum, oakleaf hydrangea, yellow anise, cleyera, red buckeye or camellia. The red buckeye is a native plant and it puts out a red flower spike in the spring which attracts hummingbirds. Camellias are slow growing evergreens but they will provide beautiful, showy flowers during the winter when nothing else is blooming. The yellow anise is a native evergreen shrub with pale, yellow-green leaves which smell like licorice when crushed. I have provided you with a few ideas but for a more complete list check out the University of Florida publication, “North Florida Plants for Shaded Sites”: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/MG/MG25200.pdf