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Wholesale Plants - Shade Plants

Shade Plants Download Printable PDF here

Below is a selection of plants that will tolerate varying levels of shade from dappled shade, part shade to full shade.

SUB SHRUBS

Bergenia sp.

Pigsqueek >>  Bergenia sp.

Bergenias make a great little rockery or edging plant for shady spots. They have broad round fleshy foliage and produce pretty bell-shaped flowers in late winter/early spring that form on spikes that sit above the foliage.  They prefer moist soil that is humus rich. Deadhead flowers after flowering.

Height: 40cm Width: 120cm
Form:   Herbaceous perennial
Foliage: Generally broad, fleshy leaves. Some varieties have thinner, spikey leaves.
Flowers:  Most species have pink flowers, however mauve and white also exist.

 Bromeliad sp.

Bromeliad >> Bromeliad sp.

Bromeliads are wonderful plant that will definitely add a tropical feel to your garden with their bright strappey leaves and flowers.  They typically prefer more tropical climate conditions with warmer temperatures and humidity, but they will grow in Melbourne in a shady spot, protected from cold and frosts. They also make good indoor plants in pots. They only require a light potting mix, and hold their water between the foliage towards the roots.  Bromeliads will grow on and under trees, and can ne used as an accent plant, a pop of colour planted amongst bold foliaged plants and look spectacular planted en-masse.

Size: variable depending on variety
Form: Rosette forming epiphyte 
Foliage: Generally broad, fleshy leaves. Some varieties have thinner, spikey leaves.
Flowers:  Long lasting inflorescences strike from the middle of the foliage.  Young flowers are called pups.

 Helleborous x hybridus

Lenton Rose  >>  Helleborous x hybridus

A pretty little winter-flowering plant that is used widely planted under trees and as a border plant. They require humus-rich,  moist but well-drained soil. They are susceptible to fungal conditions if they are overcrowded and do not have good air circulation. Clumps can be divided every few years. Plants can self seed however the seedlings may not flower the same colour as the parent plant.

Height:  30cm   Width: 30cm
Form: Clump forming herbaceous perennial 
Foliage: Palmatifid shiny compound leaves. They can go a bit chlorotic in the sun. Remove dead foliage in late summer/ autumn.
Flowers:  Nodding blooms appear in late winter and spring in various shades of maroon, pink, red, purple, cream, and white, some with spots and streaks. Double and single blooms are available. Flowers last a long time.

 Plectranthus argentatus

Silver Spurflower  >>  Plectranthus argentatus

A native spreading perennial that prefers a spot in damp shade. A good plant to use for contrast in a herbaceous border or planted under treees. It can become quite open and straggily so prune to encourage a more compact, full habit. When hot and dry they will wilt, so give them an additional drink. Frost sensitive.  

Height:  60cm   Width: 1m
Form: Open spreading shrub
Foliage: Soft silver heart-shaped leaves
Flowers:  Upright mauve/blue flowers from Dec– May.

SHRUBS

Hydrangea quercifolia

Oak Leaf Hydrangea  >> Hydrangea quercifolia

Much more tolerable of drier spots than regular hydrangeas, the Oak-Leaf provides beautiful autumn colour and dramatic white flowers in Spring.  Use an a filler in herbaceous borders to add a touch of elegance to your garden. Prefers light to open shade. Trim back flower heads after flowering and  prune to shape after last of cold weather/frost have ceased.

Height: 1.5-2m           Width: 1.5-2m
Form: A spreading deciduous shrub
Foliage: Large deeply lobed leaves. Autumn colour is dark purple.
Flowers: Large spectacular pyramid shaped white flowers sit atop of foliage in summer.

 Hydrangea macrophylla

Hydrangea >> Hydrangea macrophylla

A cottage garden classic. Hydrangeas are famous for their fabulous blue/pink pom pom-like blooms. Flower colour can change depending on soil type - blue flowers in acid soils, pink or red in alkaline soils. White flowering hydrangeas will remain white.  Hydrangeas do require a fair amount of water  especially in hot weather. Prune back in autumn.

Height: 1-2m               Width: 60cm-1m
Form: Rounded perennial shrub.              
Foliage: Large ovate green leaves.
Flowers: Large pyramid shaped flowers sit atop of foliage in summer.

 Camellia japonica

Camellia  >>  Camellia japonica

Camellias are reliable evergreen shrubs that produce pretty flowers in winter. There are many cultivars to chose from that have different coloured/shaped flowers and leaf variations.   Camellias can be planted in pots, espaliered, used for informal screening, or used as feature plants. They are best in a protected spot in semi shade, as their leaves can burn in hot north westerly spots and their flowers will get blown away in windy positions.  They prefer a moist soil that is slightly acidic.  Plant with organic matter and mulch well.

Height: 5m  Width: 3m
Form: A rounded evergreen shrub.
Foliage: Dark green glossy leaves.
Flowers: Attractive flowers in May - August. Colours range from white, pink, reds, and some can have variegations (multiple colours in the one flower). Some hybrids even have double blooms.

 Daphne odora

Daphne >> Daphne odora

A winter flowering evergreen shrub with flowers producing the most exquisite fragrance.  They are less temperamental when planted in pots, and like a cool, protected spot. Plant with organic matter and ensure they have good drainage. They prefer a more acid soil type. Tip prune after flowering to encourage new growth.

Height: 60-1m       Width: 60cm-1m
Form: Rounded evergreen shrub
Foliage: Glossy dark green leaves spirally arranged on stem.
Flowers: Pink buds open to white flowers which are arranged in clusters. Flowers in winter.

 Rhododendron species

Rhododendron  >> Rhododendron sp.

Rhododendrons are a group of plants that vary in habit from shrubs to trees. They typically grow in cooler temperate areas and like Camellias, Hydrangeas and Daphne, prefer a humus-rich slightly acid soil that is well drained. Both evergreen and deciduous varieties are available. Rhododendrons are widely used mass planted, as specimen plants, hedging and in containers. Azaleas are classified as Rhododendrons.

Height: up to 4.5m    Width: Varying
Form: Rounded shrub to tree
Foliage:  Spirally arranged on stem
Flowers: Bell- shaped flowers from early Spring to early summer. Colours range from white to pink, red, yellow, orange, and mauve. Some are multicoloured and have spots and stripes.  Most species require protection from wind and frost.  The more fragrant varieties include the Vireya Rhododendrons and the deciduous species that white or very pale pink.

 Pieris japonica

Lily of the Valley Shrub >> Pieris japonica

A slow-growing evergreen shrub with attractive white pannicles of drooping urn-shaped flowers that form in winter. It grows best in cooler regions of Australia in moist humus rich soil, that is well drained. Plant in a protected spot from wind and frost. Various cultivars are available, some with variegated foliage, and pink flowers.

Height: 2-3m  Width: 2-3m
Form: Irregular –shaped evergreen shrub
Foliage: Stiff green leaves, with bright red new growth.
Flowers: Masses of clustered, tassle-like buds open to white bell-shaped flowers from July to late spring. 

 Philotheca myoporoides

Waxflower  >>  Philotheca myoporoides

This hardy native shrub is a good garden bed filler for shady spots. It has foliage from the base up which makes it good for low informal screens.  Tip prune to encourage bushiness.

Height: 2-3m  Width: 2-3m
Form: Rounded evergreen shrub.
Foliage: Waxy green leaves are aromatic when crushed.
Flowers: Pretty pink buds open to white star-shaped flowers. 

 Choisya ternata

Mexican Orange Blossum  >> Choisya ternata

A neat shrub which clips well as a dense hedge. This is a popular choice because of its lightly fragrant perfume produced from small white flowers borne in spring through to summer.

Height: 3m Width: 1.5m
Form: Dense shrub
Foliage: Attractive glossy green leaves. New growth a fresh lime green colour
Flowers:  Small cream coloured flowers that appear from spring through to summer

 Correa baerurlenii

Chef’s Cap Correa >> Correa baerurlenii

An attractive evergreen shrub with bright red stems. A good low shrub great for filling shady spots in the garden.

Height: 1.5m Width: 1.5m
Form: Rounded shrub
Foliage: Slender shiny green leaves
Flowers: Lime green tubular flowers hang down that look like miniature chefs caps from March to November.

 Buxus sempervirens

English Box >> Buxus sempervirens

A garden classic, this evergreen shrub is typically used for formal hedging and topiary. English box will grow into a thick shrub or hedge when clipped.  It is has a slow-moderate growth rate which can be encouraged by regular feeding. It will grow in a range of soil types part from acid soils, however it prefers to be kept moist and will benefit from being planted with organic matter. The leaves and twigs are poisonous if eaten. Will grow in full shade to sun.  Yellow leaves can be due to lime deficiency which can be corrected with the addition of Dolomite lime.

Height: 5-7m   Width: 5m
Form: Dense evergreen shrub
Foliage: Small dark green leaves
Flowers: Very small and inconspicuous yellow flowers. They have a stong odour. 

GROUND COVERS

Viola hederacea

Native Violet >> Viola hederacea

The Native Violet is a great little groundcover for shadier spots and makes a super filler for in between pavers. It can go dormant in severe conditions such as frost or drought, but will grow back. Is at its best in moist soil.

Height: <15cm   Width: 60cm–1m
Form: Dense groundcover 
Foliage: Green heart shaped leaves.
Flowers:  Small purple and white flowers similar to pansies. Flowers are edible.

 Ajuga Catlin’s Giant

Bugleweed  >> Ajuga Catlin’s Giant

Ajuga Catlins’s Giant is a ground cover best suited to semi-shade. It is a wonderful little spreading perennial that has attractive fleshy purple and green coloured foliage. It makes a great plant in rockery gardens, for edging,  in between pavers, and also looks the part in cottage  and formal gardens and. It makes a great textural and contrast plant. Does prefer a soil enriched with organic matter and to be kept moist, but will survive extended periods with out water.

Height: 15cm Width: 30-60cm

Form: Matt-forming perennial, spreads by runners
Foliage: Fleshy purple and green leaves
Flowers:  Spikes of blue flowers appear in spring.

 Pratia puberula

Alpine pratia  >> Pratia puberula

Pratia puberula is a very flat perennial ground cover that will grow in part shade. It does need moist growing conditions. Plant between pavers and rockeries. Frost tender. This plant is poisonous if ingested and can cause skin irritation in some.

Height: 2cm Width: 1m
Form:   Matt-forming perennial 
Foliage: Dark green serrated leaves
Flowers:  Small pale blue flowers in late spring to autumn.

GRASSES/STRAPPEY LEAVED PLANTS

Clivia miniata

Kaffir Lily >> Clivia miniata

A clumping evergreen perennial that provides welcome pops of colour in shady spots. Good in dry shade, under trees, in pots, and looks sensational planted in herbaceous borders with Eupatorium megalophyllum, Euphorbias or Plectranthus argentatus. Leaves will burn in hot spots. Available in yellow, orange and red flowering varieties. Clivia Belgium Hybrid has much fleshier leaves.

Height: 30-60cm       Width: 30-60cm
Form: Clumping strappy leafed plant
Foliage: Dark green strappy leaves
Flowers: Trumpet-shaped flowers sit above foliage on stalks from winter to early spring, followed by red berries.

 Ophiopogon japonicus

Mondo Grass >> Ophiopogon japonicus

Mondo Grass is a perennial clumping grass that is used widely in landscaping as a border edging plant. The dwarf form ‘nana’ is popular for using between pavers.  A handy plant that can be used to create patterns and forms in the landscape especially under trees that cast shade.

Height: 20cm             Width: 30cm
Form:  Spreading grass                     
Foliage: Dark green long slender leaves
Flowers: Insignificant.

 Liriope muscari Evergreen Giant

Giant Lily Turf  >> Liriope muscari 'Evergreen Giant'

Liriope Evergreen Giant is an evergreen perennial that is hardy and reliable.  It can be used as an edging plant, in pots, and planted en masse in urban landscape spaces where it will survive on low water, light and even take a bit of beating with foot traffic. Other cultivars available include the

variegated Liriope and pink flowering varieties. Plant in semi-shade.

Height: 30-60cm       Width: 30-60cm
Form:  Clumping perennial
Foliage: Dark green long slender leaves
Flowers: Purple spikes in  spring through to summer.

 Arthropodium cirratum

Renga Renga Lily >> Arthropodium cirratum

A strappy leafed evergreen perennial that makes a great border plant or planted en masse under the shade of a tree.  Snails and slugs love the foliage, so under plant with snail pellets. Best in part/dappled shade. Does burn in hot sun. A somewhat high maintenance plant, as flowers need deadheading and old foliage should be removed, otherwise plants can look scrappy.

Height: 60cm             Width: 80cm
Form:  Clumping evergreen perennial
Foliage:  Elegant arching green strappy leaves
Flowers:  Flowers sit atop of foliage with pink buds opening to white flowers in Spring.

 Carex brunnea Variegata

Japanese Sedge  >>  Carex brunnea 'Variegata'

A good little border/bedding  plant for coastal spots. Plant in part shade in well drained soil.

Height: 60cm             Width: 50cm
Form:  Evergreen clumping grass.  
Foliage:  Arching narrow green and white striped leaves.
Flowers: Insignificant.

 Dianella tasmanica Tasred

Dianella Tasred  >>  Dianella tasmanica 'Tasred'

A reliable landscape plant that has proven its tolerance of shade over the years.  Great for garden edging, rockeries, native gardens, and in urban landscape where it is often used for erosion control. Drought tolerant once established.  Other popular varieties of Dianella are Blaze, Emerald Arch & Katies Belles which may tolerate shade too.

Height: 40cm             Width: 40cm
Form:  Evergreen clumping grass    
Foliage:  
Wide strappy green leaves that can take on a red tinge.

Flowers: Beautiful delicate purple and yellow flowers sit a top of foliage, followed by purple berries.

 FOLIAGE PLANTS/FLOWER

 Asplenium australasicum

Birds Nest Fern >> Asplenium australasicum

Birds Nest Ferns are a striking architectural plant. Their semi-erect leaves create bold foliage in the garden which is sure to add a tropical feel.  Plant in a sheltered spot, protected from wind, salts and low humidity. Will tolerate dry shade, but if planted in a more exposed spot they will need more water.  Great for container planting.

Height: 1.5m           Width: 1.5m
Form: Epiphytic fern composed of a widespread rosette.
Foliage: Glossylime-green fronds that arch out with undulating margins. Can get up to 1.5m long.
Flowers:  Spores

Alocasia macrorrhizos

Giant Taro >> Alocasia macrorrhizos

This evergreen perennial is the ideal accent plant for protected garden spaces, especially in water-logged sites (around fish ponds would be perfect). It produces broad arrow-head shaped glossy green leaves, great for creating a tropical themed garden.  Average tolerance to coastal conditions. A stunning black form called ‘Black Magic’ is another variety recommended and looks fantastic mass planted. Caution: Poisonous if eaten! 

Height:  2m          Width: 2m
Form: Stout herbaceous perennial with bold arching leaves
Foliage:  Broad arrow head-shaped glossy green leaves
Flowers:  Greenish-cream perfumed spathe in January and February.

Acanthus mollis

Oyster Plant >> Acanthus mollis

Acanthus is a great garden bed filler for shady spots especially under trees. It gives a sense of lushness and form with its large abundance of glossy green foliage. They will grow in compacted soil , however they will benefit from the addition of organic matter. Fast growing and drought tolerant. They will produce more flowers if they do get more sun. They may die down in very cold conditions, but will reshoot in spring.  Snails do like to nibble on their foliage.

Height: 60cm   Width: 1m
Form: Spreading perennial Foliage: Large glossy green pinnate leaves
Flowers: Striking tall flower spikes appear in spring and summer, can get up to 1.5m tall. White and mauve tubular flowers peak out of dark purple bracts.

Fatsia japonica

Japanese Aralia >> Fatsia japonica

Japanese Aralia is a great  foliage plant, producing decorative fan-shaped leaves ideal if you’re creating a tropical -themed garden. It will also grow indoors and the foliage lasts for weeks in cut flower arrangements. Frost sensitive. Cut back early spring to prevent the plant becoming tall and leggy.

Height: 3m         Width: 2.5m
Form: Spreading shrub 
Foliage: Large glossy green palmate leaves that are deeply lobed.
Flowers: Clusters of white flowers appear on long stalks in autumn, followed by black berries.

Gunnera manicata

Giant Rhubarb >> Gunnera manicata

With massive rhubarb-like leaves, this plant makes a dramatic impact wherever it is planted, but itrequires a fair bit of space to grow to its full size.  It looks stunning planted around a pool or pond where it is happy in damp conditions.  Giant Rhubarb prefers rich soil.  It needs to be protected from frosts in winter, putting aside old leaves to drape over the plant to protect it.

Height: 3.5m       Width: 4m
Form: Spreading perennial  Foliage: Large sharply toothed leaves with spiny undersides.
Flowers: Tiny red/green flowers on erect spikes followed by small berries.

Hosta sp.

Plaintain Lily  >>  Hosta sp.

Hostas are grown for their beautiful heart shaped leaves. Many cultivars exist that have variations in foliage colour, texture on the leaves, foliage variegation and flower colour. The foliage is a great filler for shady spots, looks fantastic mass planted, and functions both as an elegant space filler while

adding shape and lushness to any garden. They prefer a moist but well drained humus-rich spot in the garden protected from hot sun. They die down in autumn but will reshoot in late Winter. Dappled shade or morning sun will ensure they flower. Use snail bait to protect new growth from snails and slugs and feed well in spring to encourage lots of new growth.

Height: 30 - 90cm  Width: 30 –120cm
Form: Clump-forming herbaceous perennial Foliage: Large heart shaped leaves.
Flowers:  Funnel/trumpet shaped in white, mauve or purple. Appear above stiff stems in summer.

Alpinia species

Ginger Lily  >> Alpinia sp.

Alpinias grow in tropical to subtropical climates where they like humidity, however some species will grow quite well in southern parts of Australia. They are a great accent plant, can be mass-planted and the taller varieties can even provide an informal screen. They require good drainage and can be grown indoors too.

Height: 1-3.5m    Width: 2m
Form: Clump-forming herbaceous perennial.
Foliage: Longlance shaped leaves sit almost perpendicular off stems.
Flowers:  Some have pale, pendulous, shell-shaped flowers, others are more erect and bright in colour. Long lasting.

Blechnum gibbum Silver Lady

Silver Lady Fern >> Blechnum gibbum 'Silver Lady'

Silver Lady Ferns are a dwarf tree fern. Making them perfect for small gardens and spaces. They grow well as an understory plant beneath the shade of other trees/shrubs in a protected spot in the garden that is moist, and humus-rich. Frost sensitive. 

Height: 60cm-1m      Width: 60cm-1m
Form:   Rosette-shaped fern              
Foliage: Lime green lacy fronds
Flowers:  Spores

Antherium

Flamingo Flower  >> Anthurium andraeanum

Best known for their long-lasting flowers, Anthuriums can be grown both indoors (in a brightly lit spot) and outdoors. They are great in pots, where they can be moved to avoid frosts and hot afternoon sun. They do require extended warm periods and humid conditions help to promote flowering,     however will grow fine in cooler climates in a protected spot.  Feed to encourage flowering and healthy growth. A great addition to tropical-themed gardens. Caution: plant sap is poisonous.

Height: 60cm       Width: 60cm
Form: Evergreen perennial Foliage: Broad shiny lance-shaped leaves.
Flowers: Large spathes surround an erect spike. Very elegant looking. Colours in white, pink and reds and often have contrasting spathe and spike colours. They flower year round.

Philodendron Xanadu

Philodendron Xanadu  >> Philodendron Xanadu

Philodendron Xanadu is an evergreen tropical plant with distinctive deeply-lobed foliage. Plant in tropical themed gardens as an accent plant amongst ferns, such as Asplenium australasicum, Bromeliads and Alocasias.  Commonly used in tropical areas to soften apartment buildings and around pools. Great groundcover as its dense root system prevent weeds from establishing. Can be indoors in a brightly lit spot away from direct sunlight. If outdoors, plant in a protected area away from frost and hot afternoon sun. It likes moist soil with organic matter. Caution: plant sap is poisonous.

Height: 70cm Width: 70cm
Form: Compact evergreen shrub with an arching habit Foliage: Glossy green deeply lobed leaves.
Flowers: Dark red spathes.

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