Beloved by western and southern gardeners because of its large beautiful flowers in spring and winter, the common camellia, Camellia Japonica, is a broad-leafed evergreen shrub. Camellias are extremely effective standing independently or planted in groups. They blend well with other broad-leafed evergreens, and therefore are frequently mixed in tree borders. Camellias commonly grow 6 to 12 feet tall, but may reach 20 feet in older age. They are occasionally single trunked and branching nicely up from the ground, the result is generally a roundish, densely-foliage mass that is nearly as broad as it is tall. From October to May, depending on the cultivar, the plants are a mass of colour, which range from white through every shade of pink crimson. Individual blossoms measure from 2 1/2 to 5 inches in diameter and may be single, semi double, or doublesided. They’re especially appealing cut and floated in a shallow dish.

They are accessible as containerized plants on the local nursery. They transplant readily into any kind of soil that is high in organic matter and also somewhat acidic. Water when soil is dry 3 to 4 inches deep. These plants are shallow-rooted, so don’t cultivate around the roots.

C. sasanqua, the Sasanqua Camellia, is hardy to Zone 8, and blooms earlier, from autumn to early winterthan does the frequent camellia. This camellia is quite versatile, with flowers which range from white to pink scarlet. It is accessible as low-growing, sprawling shrub that’s useful as ground cover and espalier, and in addition as an upright shrub ideal for hedges or screens.



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

Tuberous Begonias

Few bulbous flowering plants are as dramatic as Begonia tuberhybrida (tuberous begonia). And luckily for shade gardeners, they grow best in light shade. Lively single or double flowers appear all summer until frost in many different colours including vibrant red, fluorescent orange, and brilliant yellowish to pale apricot, pink, and pure-white. They enhance and brighten any shade garden, whether in potted on the veranda, flower bed, window box, or a border. Tuberous begonias are offered in numerous types: multiflora bushy varieties with blossoms that are small erect plants that develop 12 to 18 inches tall; as well as the pendula, or hanging basket, varieties with stems trailing to 18-inches.

Tuberous begonias are not hardy outdoors, and needs to be dug up each autumn and re-planted in the springtime. Plant the tubers outdoors following the last spring freeze in well-drained soil that is kept moist. Fertilize with a complete fertilizer two times per month. To support constant blooms, remove blossoms, and pinch the stalk tips back when the plants become leggy.

Bring some color inside and appreciate begonias as slice the flowers. Cut the flowers when they are fully open and float them in a shallow dish. Lightly sprinkle the petals to make them last longer. The stems are very brittle, so handle them carefully.


The leaves may be velvety or rough and crinkled notched or round and full. They may be one solid color or several colors in varying shades of green, red, bronze, yellow, maroon, pink, and chartreuse. Small blue or lilac flower spikes appear through the summer and needs to be taken out to conserve the plants energy. Keep by periodically cutting the stems back several inches, the plants bushy. Coleus are ideal as edging plants, as well as in flower beds, pots, and window boxes. They grow best in medium to light shade, using a rich, well-drained soil that’s kept evenly moist.

Coleus propagate easily from stem cuttings. Cuttings produced in the fall can be grown indoors over winter months, and put outdoors in the springtime following the late frost. They may also be grown from seeds, but no two plants will be alike. Start the seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before planting the seedlings outside. Pinch off flowers to keep bloom growing. Some new cultivars remain packed without topping back. Native to Java and the Philippines, coleus are grown as annuals in many regions of the country, as even the lightest freeze damages them.

Rhododendrons and Azaleas

Probably no other group of plants arouses as much devotional compliments and obsessional discouragement as the genus Rhododendron. Where they can be grown, few plants can fit their bewildering assortment of striking, profuse, commonly brilliant blossoms, remarkable form, and attractive leaf.

Rhododendron is an extensive genus, with more than 900 species and 10,000 varieties. Azalea is a string within the Rhododendron genus. There are deciduous and evergreen, small- and large-leafed, and dwarf and tall types of these plants. The range of colours is endless, including flowers that are bicolored and solid; some have a heady perfume. Depending on the variety and location, azaleas and rhododendrons bloom from late winter.

Botanists are still arguing over exactly what anatomical characteristics distinguish Azalea from Rhododendron. Most rhododendrons are evergreen, and while many azaleas are not evergreen, both azaleas and rhododendrons have deciduous and evergreen species. A common misconception is that azaleas are consistently smaller than rhododendrons in leaf and form, while in fact several rhododendrons are tiny, rock-garden with leaves smaller dwarfs. Sizes of both plants change from 8 to 80 inches.

There is, however, one significant difference be tween rhododendrons and azaleas — namely, where the buds are located. Rhododendron buds are consistently located just above the leaf rosette; under the bark along the whole branch, the buds are hidden on azaleas. This difference affects the sort of pruning each type demands.

The name of rhododendrons and azaleas as finicky, frustrating plants is misleading. If put in given suitable growing conditions and a favorable place, these plants are simple, care free, and long lived.



It’s grown not for its blooms but for its leaves that were eye-catching although this Southamerican tuber does produce little pink blossoms. The arrow or heart-shaped leaves edged are veined, or mottled in several variants of pink, red, green, silver, and white. The crops grow about one foot tall and improve flower bed or any shrub edge. For incorporating colour on verandas and verandas, in addition they make good container plants.

Caladium x bortulanum, fancy- leaved caladiums, therefore are hardy outdoors just in Zone 10, and develop best in warm humid places. In other zones they have been grown as annuals that are dug up just before the fall frost and stored for the winter. When little leaves appear, transplant the young crops to 4-to 7-inch diameter containers, and move them outside when the weather is reliably warm (above 70°F).
Caladiums develop equally well in light or dense shade, and prefer a well-drained soil that is kept evenly moist. To keep plants that are attractive also to encourage new, vibrant leaves, take off any dead leaves in the bottom of the leafstalk.