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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Shade Plants and Vine Plants for the North

Michael Nolan
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No matter where you live, there are plenty of shade plants and vine plants that will thrive while beautifying your home and shade garden. In the north, the heat of summer gives way to a much cooler fall season much more quickly than in other parts of the country…but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of great plants to choose from.

Shade Plants

Whether your shade garden is simply bare space in the shade of a tree or an entire area that gets little to no sun because of buildings or other structures, you don’t have to go without great looking plant selections that will have that Wow! factor. Here are some of our favorite shade plants that perform well in the north:

  • Fern
  • Hellebore
  • Hosta
  • Vinca

Vine Plants


Vines are a great way to create the illusion of separation for outdoor spaces while enhancing privacy in a beautiful way. Whether climbing on an existing fence or a new arbor or trellis, vine plants are easy to grow and they grow quickly.

New York Muddy Boots Team member Crystal suggests a vine plant that will offer more than just beauty and privacy, “I would suggest Dutchman’s Pipes (Aristolochia) for a shady vine that will grow on a trellis or an arbor.  It has big heart shaped leaves that are green and purplish.  This vine also attracts Swallowtail caterpillars in the Spring, so you’ll be providing a habitat for Swallowtail butterflies!”

Crystal also likes variegated Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). “The colors in the leaves are bright white and green, especially in Fall.” You should note that Virginia Creeper can become invasive if not maintained, so if you choose to plant it, be sure to keep an eye on it to keep its growth under control. Growing invasive vine plants in large containers is one way to ensure they don’t take over.

Some other vine plant options for the north include:

  • Clematis
  • Grapes
  • Honeysuckle
  • Ivy

Dutchman’s Pipe Photo Credit: L. Shyamal / Creative Commons

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