Fertilizer Practices

They still need a constant supply of nutrients, even though the metabolism of plants growing in the shade is slower than that of those growing in the sun. Monthly application of a relatively moderate fertilizer that is whole is an excellent practice when the plants are actively growing. A light fertilizer might be a liquid fish emulsion with a 5-1-1 formula, or a dry 5-10-5 fertilizer. (The numbers refer to the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium found in the fertilizer, and are consistently recorded in that order.

Acid loving plants can be given. These fertilizers are often labeled “azalea and camellia food,” “rhodod endron and azalea food,” or something similar.

The speeds and times of any fertilizer have been the subject of much research and should not be taken Too much for use can rapidly damage plants.



The genus Primula offers the shade gardener plants with an assortment of colors including white, magenta, pink, yellow, and orange. Some flowers are bicolored and others are fragrant. There are several hundred species, varying in height from a few inches to 3 feet tall. Flowers appear in February in mild winter areas and in April and May in northern climates. These perennials are hardy to Zone 5. The crinkly, tongue-shaped leaves form basal rosettes and are evergreen when temperatures do not drop below 15°F. For an array of spring color, plant primulas with bulbs.

New plantings can be established from nursery bedding plants, divisions, or from seeds started indoors in late winter or early spring. Primulas grow best in medium to light shade with rich, well-drained soil. Keep the soil evenly moist, and fertilize occasionally with a complete fertilizer. Divide crowded plantings every two to three years after flowering. New plants appear in the garden from self-sown seed and from surface roots, but primulas cannot be considered invasive.

The easiest-to-grow primulas are Primula vulgaris, English Primrose; P. x polyanthus, Polyanthus Primula; P. japonica, Japanese Primula; and P. sieboldii

Cinnamon Fern

Native to boggy regions of Canada and the eastern United States, the cinnamon fern is just one of the most early ferns to emerge in the springtime. Before they unfurl, young fronds are coated with white hair. When full grown, the waxy fronds are yellow green and grow 24 to 36 inches tall and 6 to 8 inches wide. There are 2 distinctly various kinds of fronds— fertile and sterile.

It appears and it turns brown, withers, and lies through the summertime on the floor after discharging its spores.

The sterile fronds can be found in in late spring, remain green all summer, and flip brown with the first fall freeze. It spreads slowly, and because of its height, it’s best used as a background plant.

Japanese Pieris, Japanese Andromeda

this refined cousin of the rhododendron and azalea blends beautifully with assorted acid growers including ferns and other woodland plants and its relatives. A clean evergreen shrub pieris, with a dense habit requires no pruning. Its delicate sprays of buds, pink or white blooms, seed capsules, attractive deep green mature leaf, and brilliantly-coloured bronzy red new leaves in spring make it amazing through the entire year. As a specimen, part of a mass planting a shrub border, or a container subject, it really is a classic for medium to light shade. Several cultivars are available, including a variegated compact kind with white-edged leaves.

IiIy-of-the-valley shrub. The blooms are long-lasting. Thin. oblong leaves. Are pink as they emerge in spring to bronzy red.

They grow to shiny, ossy strong green, making a tiered effect. In most climates light shade is not bad. But especially in climates that are rather hot, medium shade is best. Pieris needs to be sheltered from the wind and winter sun in cold areas. Earth must be rich, high in organic content, acid, and fast-draining. If pruning is required— it and never is, except to form the plant—prune immediately after flowering. Crown rot. Fungus leaf spot, die-back scales, fungus, lace bugs. And mites can be severe difficulties unless controlled by appropriate sprays.

P. floribunda (Mountain Pieris, Mountain Andromeda; Zones 5 to 8 ), native to the eastern United States, is fairly similar to P. japonica in appearance and demands but more compact and smaller (2 to 6 feet high and broad), and it flowers in April. Flowers are pure white. A really old specimen in an English garden is 6 feet high and 15 feet wide. P. floribunda is less vulnerable to weeds than is P. japonica.

P. ‘Woods Flame’, a 6 to 7-foot hybrid between P. japonica and P. forestii, has brilliant scarlet new growth and is hardier than P. forestii.

P. forestii (Chinese Pieris) is more caring than other species. It strongly resembles them but is larger and more compact, and its own new development is more brilliantly coloured. Hardy to Zone 8.

Cup Flower

Although little-known and generally hard to find, the cup flower is a diminutive joy in the garden. Neat, spreading mounds of the fine-textured foliage are smothered with blue-violet purple or blossoms all summer long. Blossoms hold their colour without fading even in the brightest sun.

It behaves well as an edging to a edge or walk, and can be planted in window boxes, hanging baskets, and pots. It’s also a logical substitute for trailing lobelia where the latter dies out in the heat.

For its easy care, long-season blue violet shade, and limited size, the cup bloom deserves greater popularity.

It needs rich, sandy, moist, well-drained soil that’s high in organic matter, and light shade to full sun. Shade is preferred in areas with hot summers. Keep the plants moist, but be careful to not overwater.