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FutureStarrRed and Green Shade Plants
Japanese painted fern (Athyrium filix-femina) is a small, well-behaved fern that makes a graceful addition to shade garden plants. It won’t grow too big or too rambunctious. Instead, it beckons you to take a closer inspection of its multicolored foliage, which is an attractive mix of green, silver and maroon. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9, it grows 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.
The fern-like green to gray-green foliage tells you this is a shade plant, but the bright bi-colored flowers look as if they belong in a sunny meadow. Indeed, columbine (Aquilegia) is an adaptable perennial that takes anything from full sun to shade. It seems to do best in part shade, where it can grab a few hours of sunlight each day. The intricate flowers come in a rainbow of colors and appear in late spring and early summer. Columbine is hardy in Zones 3 to 8.A mainstay in shade garden plants for decades, hosta still manages to attract new fans each year. And why not? The range of sizes, colors and variegations is staggering. There is simply a hosta for everyone. No need to stick with the tried-and-true green varieties—not when there are chartreuse, blue and wildly variegated varieties at the ready. Some have small leaves, others large. All offer flowers in summer, but it’s the foliage that people love. Hosta is hardy in Zones 3 to 9.
Tiny bell blossoms in white, pink, or red make alumroot (Heuchera) a true beauty. Alumroot, also known as coral bell, is a striking plant, in bloom or not. Its bright, lobed foliage ranges from green to red to violet and often bears dramatic patterns. Alumroot’s leaves will tell you where to plant this perennial: yellow and green-leaved varieties prefer shade or semi-shade, while red-leaved varieties thrive in sunny spots, where their colour usually intensifies. However, even yellow and green-leaved varieties should not be left in full shade, without any light they will not be able to produce flowers. Alumroot grows best in moderately shady to sunny areas.Helleborus is widespread in Europe and Asia. It has 15 to 25 species as well as countless varieties and cultivars. Gardeners adore this genus for its early flowering; the first to bloom is the Christmas rose (Helleborus niger), which, fittingly, flowers around Christmas. The Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis hybrids) and dungwort (Helleborus foetidus) follow, flowering between February and April, though, be warned, the dungwort exudes a slightly unpleasant smell. Almost every Helleborus spe