Best Plants for Shade

Q: Which does better in shade, plants that have solid colored leaves or those that are variegated, hosta for instance?

A: Solid green plants are typically stronger because their green leaves can photosynthesize more readily. In the case of hosta, ‘Frances Williams’, ‘Francee’, and ‘Great Expectations’ are excellent variegated cultivars but they won’t do as well in deep shade as solid colored ones like ‘Elegans’, ‘Halcyon’ or ‘Royal Standard’. Moving away from hosta, I have had great success with variegated Solomon’s seal and Japanese painted fern in my shady spots. Despite their light-colored foliage, these plants thrive in relatively dark areas.

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