There are mature trees on your property under which you try to grow some perennials ? One after the other, the hostas and the astibles you’ve planted wither and die ? Don’t buy the shade plants usually sold on the market and rather rely on indestructible perennials that can withstand the most extreme conditions !

The shade provided by a mature spruce or maple tree is generally very deep and inhospitable. Few plants can grow in such conditions, because in addition to block sunlight, the dense foliage of these trees prevents rain to reach the ground. Furthermore, the huge root system of these trees is in competition with the perennial rootlets to absorb the nutrients and the water. For example, on a hot July day, a mature silver maple can suck up to 200 liters of water from the ground ! Some species, such as black walnut and horse chestnut will release allelochemicals, which are toxic for plants that dare to grow under their canopy. That’s what I call extreme conditions !

The Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense) has a velvety foliage reaching 20 cm in height.

If you want to create a sustainable planting under mature trees, you better select very vigorous plants perfectly adapted to deep shade and drought. The Canadian wild ginger (Asarum canadense), barrenwort (Epimedium), sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum), bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum), mourning widow (Geranium phaeum), variegated deadnettle (Lamiastrum galeobdolon ‘Variegatum’) and Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum) are downright indestructible perennials that can withstand the worst conditions. Lack of light, drought and competition with tree roots, nothing scares them ! These are true warriors !

Mourning widow (Geranium phaeum) blooms for a long period of time going from May to July.