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oki
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What should I plant in this weird planter??

[img]https://img.photobucket.com/albums/v342/NuriKitsune/FrontPlanter.jpg[/img]

There is this strange raised planter on the front of my new house, which faces north. It's that brick thing all along under the window there, and it's recessed waaay back where it gets no rain or sun (at least I don't think it gets any sun... if it does, it gets very little.) The line I drew on the ground shows how far the roof extends out over it. What can I possibly plant in this thing? And how should I take care of plants there? Just water them? I'm a noob gardener.
Also I live in western WA.
Last edited by oki on Thu Jul 29, 2010 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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okie dokie Oki ;p Without knowing a whole lot about your location ( as I live in socal ) I saw your post and decided to look up shade loving plants on google lol I'm not sure which of these plants would work in your location but I found a site that seemed pretty helpful in your decision of what to put there :)[url]https://www.letsgogardening.co.uk/Information/ShadeLovingPlants.htm[/url] If this site fails you then you can easily find out your USDA zone here [url]https://www.sunset.com/garden/climate-zones/[/url] then search google for your specific zone and shade loving plants. Hope this helps you :)
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oki
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Thank you for the links! But I am confused now. From the map on that site, it looks like I'm in zone 4 or 5.. I can't tell, I'm right on the line. So I googled around and found this site: https://www.garden.org/zipzone/ where I entered my zip code, and it told me I'm in zone 7B.
FFFFFFFFF....

Nightshade
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I used to live in Bothell, and I tell you, we had one of those types of planters too.

I remember it was a wasteland. Nothing grew there... except like this one purple flower. I cannot even begin to think what it was though.... (this was like 10 years ago).

Hmmm... hmmm... hmmm... maybe lupine? I really don't know... I will ask my mom though. LOL


Western washington... doesn't help it's on the NORTH side too... yikes.... what master-brain designed THAT!

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oki
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Lupine.. those look pretty nice! It would be awesome if you could confirm that for me. :3
Hmm, I'm reading that they like partial shade. lol.

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rainbowgardener
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The Sunset climate zones are a totally different system from the USDA cold hardiness zones. The Sunset Western Garden book is a great place to start. It does divide the west coast into many more zones than the USDA system and they are based on lots of climate factors, not just how cold it gets. The SWG will give you lots of good suggestions for what to plant based on your specific climate. Older editions of it are available very cheap used on Amazon or it will be in your library.

Here's a map of the USDA hardiness zones for WA. https://www.growit.com/bin/USDAZoneMaps.exe?MyState=wa

But that only tells you how cold it gets in winter, which is not very for most of the coastal area, due to warm ocean currents. Seattle is in the same USDA zone as south carolina.

For your planter, if you mix plenty of peat moss in the soil for moisture retention and keep it watered, it could be a nice place to grow ferns. You have a wide variety of native ferns there in the Pacific Northwest. If you don't care about native, you could mix ferns and hostas together which can be really pretty. Throw in some bleeding heart for the spring and it is looking lovely. Another nice choice for the edges would be tiarella, foam flower. It is low growing, only gets about 6" tall, but sends up pretty flower spikes in the spring. In the meantime the hybrid versions come in a wide range of beautiful variegations of leaves, so it keeps looking nice all year. The lupines would work as would monks hood for some tall flower spikes in the middle. With a little effort (and some of these may need to be ordered from catalogs) you can make that a beautiful welcoming area to your new home.
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lorax
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Lupine will definitely grow in zones as marginal as 2a, so you'll be fine with them in zone 4-7. I used to have the same kind of silly north-facing brick bed under the eaves; I put a large rambling rose in one half of it and let it ramble through the bed, with blue Lobelia in front; Astilbe worked really well on the other side.

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rainbowgardener
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Astilbe is nice. If you like big you can go with the native version, goatsbeard.
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Susan W
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Definitely an odd planter! Shows how much the architect or builder knows....but that is a different discussion.

Looks like all shade so limited there. As it is your front entrance, would think you would prefer an evergreen. I have 2 rectangle concrete planters on my front porch rail (north face). I can do impatience, then is just dirt all winter, and can turn into the neighbor kitty-box. Yuk. I put in ivy and was very pleased. One year it got aphids or scale or something, can't remember, and yanked it out, cleaned out dirt, put in more ivy. It stays pretty through the winter and all year. You do need to remember to water, even in winter! I think I killed the last batch from not watering. Me Bad!

I am trying Pachysandra (spurge) in one now. A bit of ivy (variegated) showed life in the other, and got more to go with.

I would also check the ferns as someone suggested. See if there are some evergreen ones, especially if you want year around showing in that spot.
Another issue is the dirt. Especially if the house had been vacant, or nothing planted there, could have been a kitty-box and whatever else. I would dig out dirt at least 1 ft down, see what the rest looks like, and add fresh.
Let us know what you work out!
Have fun!
Susan

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microcollie
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Now would be the time to consider some sort of irrigation system. With it totally under the eaves, you can't count on rain. (And I know if it were me, I'd constantly be forgetting to water :oops: )
The fact that the bed is raised and near the door makes me think that you could use some plants that deserve close observation. I love epimediums, but they often get lost in bigger ground-level gardens. The same goes for spigelia marilandica, one of my new favorites. Ligularia's a beautiful shade lover (I always cut the flowers off mine because I think they ruin the look). And rogersia is a nice sculptural one, with pretty flowers and interesting seeds that look good up close. Pulmonarias a good filler.

Fouquieria
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I think rainbowgardener gave you great advice.

Let me add this: It's a relatively small, confined space. So it will be easier to maintain. It's right next to the door so it won't be missed or forgotten or hopefully neglected. It's very protected so it won't suffer from heat in the summer, cold in the winter, or wind damage. I think it's a great spot for ferns, hostas, and other plants that prefer the protection of dense overstory. Also since it's right up against the house, there's got to be a water faucet nearby. If you wanted to get really cool, you could even put a little pond in there somewhere.

-Ron-

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lorax
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Right - you can also grow Alocasia and Colocasia in there (the "Elephant Ears", much as I despise that term), and Caladiums as well. These are overwintered the same way that bulbs like Tulips or Jonquils are.

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rainbowgardener
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The caladiums are a nice suggestion. They are not winter hardy so they do have to be dug up in the fall and stored. I didn't quite follow the comparison with tulips and daffodils though. In most of the US tulips and daffs/ jonquils are winter hardy and are just left in the ground. In some of the warmest areas, Southern US, to have tulips you have to dig them up and refrigerate/ freeze them, because they need to have cold dormancy. That is still different from caladium which are stored warm.
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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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Speaking of Caladiums... as I was researching to see what they were on google image I came across one that I found most intriguing. What I really don't know though is if its actually "real" or if its color is just edited in a computer program.

[img]https://i618.photobucket.com/albums/tt261/NySnap/Plants/Random%20Plants/purple-caladiums-sandie-smith.jpg[/img]

I found it at [url]https://fineartamerica.com/featured/purple-caladiums-sandie-smith.html[/url]
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BewilderedGreenyO.o
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lol Nevermind!! It "Is" Art ... As I neglected to read as the picture was so beautiful... especially if there was an actual plant that color lol

Medium:Photograph - Photography With Digital Color Added

Go figure :roll: :>

Though these are a decent substitute :D Strobilanthes dyerianus (Persian Shield)
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lorax
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rainbowgardener wrote:The caladiums are a nice suggestion. They are not winter hardy so they do have to be dug up in the fall and stored. I didn't quite follow the comparison with tulips and daffodils though. In most of the US tulips and daffs/ jonquils are winter hardy and are just left in the ground. In some of the warmest areas, Southern US, to have tulips you have to dig them up and refrigerate/ freeze them, because they need to have cold dormancy. That is still different from caladium which are stored warm.
Sorry, I'm originally from USDA 2a. In zones that cold, we dig up our tulips and jonquils and store them in the basement during the winter. Caladiums were store in the potato cupboard.

NicoleJean
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If it was my house I would get the planter removed and put some low shrubs there. Than in front of the shrubs I would than use that space for annual flowers. Obviously whatever you decide to put there you will need to self water it. I also live in Washington and you can get these regional books, tree and shrub gardening for washington and oregon, annuals for washington and oregon, or perrinials for washington and oregon. There are hundreds of varieties that are know to do well in your area. All the plants and flowers come with color page spreads and growing and care instructions.

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