Shady Refuge Herb Collection
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Christy Edwards-Ronning
Posted on: August 6, 2003

I am looking for something to plant on the west side of my house that is in full shade (due to the surrounding houses). The soil is very poor now. Would your shady refuge collection work for a full-shade situation?

Yes, this collection can work in full shade.

What should I do to amend the soil?

You say that the soil is very poor, but you don’t describe what’s wrong with the soil. In general, these herbs prefer well-drained, reasonably good soil. So, if the soil is nutrient-poor or lacking in organic matter, add compost or composted manure; if the soil is poor-draining, add sand.

How many square feet does this collection cover?

The lower ground cover herbs (periwinkle, vap ca, sweet woodruff) will cover about 4 square feet in total initially and within a couple of years spread to twice the area. The taller herbs (sweet cicely, valerian and blue vervain) will cover about 8 square feet within a couple of years.

When should I order?

This collection can be planted anytime from April to September.

Also, would any of these be appropriate for underneath rhododendrons?

Rhododendrons are acid-loving plants. The Shady Refuge collection herbs prefer more neutral pH, something in the pH range 6.0 to 7.5. You may wish to plant these herbs away from the rhododendrons.

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