Gilbert H. Wild & Son


Potted Shade Perennials


When deciding on the location of your new shade plant, the amount of shade needed greatly differs from plant to plant. Please read each plant’s characteristics for the greatest success. Many shade loving plants tolerate some sun in the morning but not hot afternoon sun.

Any good garden soil is appropriate for gardening success. Humus or peat moss and sand should be added to heavy clay soil. Compost must be incorporated into sandy soil to lessen its porousness and to increase water retention.

Unless specified, plants should be planted in a well-drained soil. One method of achieving adequate drainage in problem areas is to prepare a raised bed 3 to 6 inches above ground level.

If planting at the base of trees, a little extra care well be required. Trees and even large shrubs will steal moisture and nutrients from the plants around it. You should check soil for moisture weekly and water accordingly. Soils should never be soggy.  Avoid planting under Walnut trees and certain nut trees as they produce a toxin that will deter growth or even kill it.


Most perennials do well if planted in the spring before the soil temperature reaches 65 degrees. In the fall, you need to plant 4 weeks prior to the ground freezing to alleviate heaving.


If you cannot plant immediately after receiving these plants, place them in a shady spot in your garden or home.  Keep potted plants watered until planting.

We suggest that you work the soil 8-10 inches deep, into a good loose condition. Incorporate into the hole a mixture of good garden soil and compost. Dig a hole the same depth as the plant’s rootball. Take plants out of plastic pot, place rootball in hole and replace the soil around plant. Soil should not be mounded around the base of the plant, keep soil the same level as the soil on rootball. Be sure to pack the soil well. Water well. Check watering requirements for each plant variety, most perennials need water every three to four days for the first two weeks and then at least an inch of water a week.

Plants should not be planted too close together. Good air flow will help prevent the development of fungi or disease. Plants should be spaced according to their mature spread. If you want a fuller look, you can overlap the mature spread by 3-4 inches.  Keep in mind that some varieties multiply very fast, and the clumps will become crowded if planted too close.

Some shade perennials benefit from being divided every 2-4 years. If you discover your older plants are not blooming anymore, the centers are dying out or the plant is not performing as it has in past seasons, it may be time to dig it up and divide. Keeping your divisions on the larger size will increase the likelihood of the plant to bloom the same season.