Way up here in the land of tall conifers, dry shade is a common gardening challenge. I’ve had success with the following plants in the shade of conifers, and they also work well in deciduous woodlands or in the dry rain shadow of north-facing buildings and garden walls. As with any new plantings, they will require summer water for several dry seasons until they have established a root system capable of competing with existing tree roots.
Drought tolerant* or low water use* are terms we use often in Northwest gardening. You see them on many of our plant signs and information sheets at Swansons. More so each year, as we recognize the importance of saving water in the face of our region's growing population and potential effects of climate change. Also, we see ever more examples of how beautiful a well-designed, drought-tolerant garden can be! However, this doesn’t mean these plants don’t need water. Read on to learn the truth about helping these plants thrive.