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Tough Environments

Tough Environment Plants | Farmside Landscape & Design

Tough Environments

Tough Environment Plants | Farmside Landscape & DesignThe average yard typically has more than one type of environment. There are spaces that bake under full sun and those shrouded in deep shade. Add to that these same spots can be dry or damp depending on soil grading, soil composition (sand, clay, compaction) and conditions that aren’t visibly apparent such as underground streams. Two of the most challenging environments for plants are dry shade and damp full sun. It figures most plants that thrive in shade like their digs well-hydrated and those sun-worshippers don’t want their feet to get too wet. So when conditions are anything but expected—like dry shade and damp sun—finding the right plant partners for these spaces can seem challenging. Fortunately, there are a variety of plant choices for these garden conditions in a virtual rainbow of color options.


Dry shade

  • Tough Environment Plants | Farmside Landscape & DesignFerns, hostas and sedges are staples for shady dry areas and come in a huge variety of colors, shapes and sizes to suit every taste. Take a look at the classic Japanese Painted Fern with its blue-green hue and burgundy accents or the lushly verdant Dixie Wood Fern.
  • If a sea of green suits your garden style, timeless Pachysandra, with it’s neat, low to the ground profile and self-spreading characteristics is also a great choice.
  • When it comes to hostas, colors, shapes and sizes abound. There’s aqua blue Abiqua Drinking Gourd, beautifully variegated Touch of Glass, Great Expectations, Cameo and Old Glory, brilliantly golden Fire Island and nearly neon lime Island Breeze. Looking for a smaller hosta? You’ll be charmed by Blue Mouse Ears and ruffled-leaf Church Mouse.
  • Flowered ground covers include frosted-leafed Lamium—Pink Pewter offers blooms in a perfectly complementary pink—and hardy Vinca, with dark, shiny green leaves and purple flowers that pop.
  • Helleborus offers almost limitless color options, like Confetti Cake—white with raspberry-colored sprinkles—or the deep burgundy of Rome in Red, the pale jade-hued Ivory Prince and the blushingly beautiful Cotton Candy.
  • Leafy Heucherella options include the brilliant yellow and red Golden Zebra, the autumnal-hued Buttered Rum, the lime-leafed, red-veined Alabama Sunrise and the golden-pink Honey Rose.
  • Grassy sedges capture your interest? Check out golden Everillo, green/cream-striped Everest, cool, celery-hued Evergold or spiky Platyphylla.


Damp Sun

  • Tough Environment Plants | Farmside Landscape & DesignAn endless variety of colors, Irises are must-have beauties for sunny spots with damp soils. (Iris was the name of the Greek goddess of the rainbow!). From frosty white Immortality to raven-colored Midnight Oil and everything in between. Parisian Dawn has all the colors of a beautiful sunrise—pale gold, peach and lilac; Sea Power has wavy ocean-blue petals; ruby-toned Red Riches will look like jewels in the garden, while Seashells by the Seashore Pink is as pretty as its name.
  • Exotic-looking Papyrus with its feathery green fronds thrives in moist soil (even shallow water!) and loves the heat, thanks to its tropical nature.
  • Want color that wows? Hardy Hibiscus is your flower. From 4-6’ feet tall, with blooms that can be as large as dinner plates, this plant is no shrinking violet. Purple Ombre is a cascade of colors, from lilac to blue, pink, fuschia, and purple. Midnight Marvel is stunning lipstick red; Bluebird boasts deep blue petals with a burgundy center; White Dinner Plate serves a moonlight-like luminosity to the garden while Cosmic Dancer ignites the garden with color with its golden-orange splendor.
  • For a groundcover color that won’t quit, Creeping Jenny with its vibrant chartreuse foliage is a sure stunner.
  • Can a flower look sweet as a daisy but still be tough as nails? Yup—the Swamp Sunflower amasses hundreds of small, sunny yellow, daisy-like flowers in summer and fall and is hardy in event the hottest sun, as long as it’s in moist soil.


Need more ideas for your landscape challenges? Call us at Farmside Garden & Design. We’ll create a look that thrives in your landscape, is effortlessly easy to maintain and love.


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