Plant Information

Planting for coastal areas over Chalk

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As coastal areas receive fewer and less intense frosts than inland areas , one is able to grow many slightly tender shrubs and plants, however they often need to have tough grey or green waxy leaves, or narrow or hairy leaves to ensure they are not burned up by the salty winds especially during frosty spells when soil moisture is locked up . Chalky soils are very free draining and often occur on the drier south and east of Britain further increasing the requirement for plants to be drought tolerant to survive. Fortunately plants suited to drier “mediterranean” climates are often more tolerant of calcareous soils (which is saturated with calcium and other minerals) than those from wetter climates , where soil minerals do not accumulate in the top soil but are washed downwards.

Seafront garden plants should be planted in cushions so each plant gives protection to those behind it . Single plants sticking up above the others are liable to have there leaves burnt off. The tender new foliage of deciduous trees and shrubs are especially vulnerable.

East Northdown border

East Northdown border

Climbers for planting in exposed chalky soils

CLEMATIS tangutica, chirrosa vars. ,viticella vars, montana vars.,
HUMULUS lupulus “aureus”
HEDERA canariensis “gloire de marengo”, Helix “glacier, “sagittifolia”, “green ripples” etc
JASMINUM officinale “variagata” nudiflorum (north wall)
CHAEMOMELES (shady wall) “pink lady” “nivalis” “crimson and gold”
COTONEASTER horizontalis
LONICERA japonica “repens” , x Americana , periclymenum “late dutch” “belgica”, henyrii , etrusca superba
Henryana, tricuspidata, veitchii
WISTERIA vars. Climbing roses , most


Other planting in exposed sites on chalky soils



ACACIA Retinoides, meansii, cultriformis
ACANTHUS mollis, spinosus
ACER pseudoplanatus vars
AESCULUS hippocastanatum.
AMPELODOPSIS mauritanica (a tall med. grass)
ANTHEMIS cupaniana,
ARTEMISA absinthum, arb. “Powis Castle”
ASTER sedifolia, novae angliiCARYOPTERIS vars.
CASSINIA fulvida, wards silver etc
CEANOTHUS arboreus , ‘blue cushion’, ‘blue mound’ ‘concha’ “impressus” (small leaves) etc.
CENTAUREA macrocephala, scabiosa
CENTRANTHUS rubra, r. ‘alba’
CERCIS siliquastrum
CISTUS cyprius, blanche , crispus, purpureus etc.
CINERARIA maritima
CHRYSANTHEMUM (leucanthemum)border vars
BULBS, tulipa, scilla, narcissi, anemone blanda, Leaucojum aestevum, galanthus, allium, muscari, iphion uniflorum, iris reticulata and dutch, crocus, ornithogalum umbellatum & nutans, lilium candidum,
BALLOTA pseudodictamus
BERBERIS ottawensis “Superba”, Candidula, stenophylla
BUPLEURUM fructicosum
BUDDLEIA davidii in variety, globosa, salvifolia, heliophyllum etc
BUXUS sempervirens vars.



CLEMATIS orientalis, Montana, flammula, viticella, armandii, tangutica.
COLUTEA arborescens
CONVOLVULUS cneorum, mauritanica
CORYLUS max.purpurea, “Kent cob”
CORDYLINE australis + cvs.
CONVALARIA (Lily of the Valley)
CORONILLA glauca “citrina”, gold, varigated
CORTADERIA sell.,cvs., richardii
CUPRESSUS arizonica “glauca”, macrocarpa, sempervirens ‘totem pole’
CRATAEGNUS mono.”Paul’s Scarlet”, “Rosea flore plena”, “ crimson cloud”, prunifolia
CYNARA scolymus – Globe artichoke, Cardoon
CHOISYA ternate cvs.
CYTISUS “Porlock”, praecox, battanderi
DORYCNIUM hirsutum



ECHINOPS ritro, humilis
ELAEGNUS ebbengei
ELYMUS magellenica, Leymus Aranatherum
ERICA erigena, terminalis stricta, darleyensis
ERYNGIUM(sea holly)
ESCALLONIA “Iveyi” “Crimson spire”, “Apple blossom”
EUCALPTUS parvifolia ,dalrympliana, nitens
EUPHORBIA wulphenii, characias, ceratocarpa, nicense,ridgens arborescens etc.
EURYOPS pectinatus
FATSIA japonica
FRAXINUS ornus “Raywood” excelsior



GARRYA elliptica
GENISTA hispanica, aetensis
GRISELINA littoralis + cvs
HEBE large x, Salicifolia, “Midsummer beauty”, Fragrant Jewel Great orme ,etc.
Medium:- francescana, wiri vision, wiri image, oratia beauty etc.
HELIANTHEMUM (rock rose)
HELICHRYSUM angustifolium
HIPPOPHAE rhamnoides
HYDRANGEA macrophylla (pinks)

I & J

K & L

ILEX x altaclerensis
IRIS germanica, florentina
JUGLANS regia (walnut)
LAURUS nobilis, nob.aurea
LAVANDULA all vars
LIBERTIA grandiflora
LUPINUS arboreus
LONICERA pileata, purpursii
LYCIUM barbatum

M & N & O


MAGNOLIA grandiflora, x loebneri “Leonard Messel”& ‘Merrill’, Stellata
MORUS nigra.
NEPETA vars.
MYRTUS communis
OLEARIA virgata lineata, macrodonta ,solandri etc,
PAEONIA delavayi, lutea, mollis, officinalis etc.
PHLOMIS fructicosa
PHORMIUM tenax vars
PINUS sylvestris, thunbergii, nigra maritima, pinea,
PHYLLOSTACHYS bissetti, viridi glaucescens, ‘catillonis’
POPULUS alba “nivea”
PRUNUS (ornamental cherries)

Q & R & S

T & U & V & W

QUERCUS ilex, cerris, suber
RHUS typina, typ lacinata
ROSA rugosa and most roses
SALIX rosmarifolius,
SAMBUCUS nigra “black beauty’
SANTOLINA cham + vars
SEDUM praealtum, confusum
SILENE maritima “rosea”
SOLANIUM crispum “glasnevin”
SORBUS aria “lutescens”
SPARTIUM junceum
SPIREA japonica, nipponica van houtii
STACHYS byzanticum
TAXUS baccata
THUJA occidentalis, plicata
TAMARIX tetandra, ramosissima, hampneana,
TEUCRIUM fructians, chamaedrys
ULEX europeus
VERBASCUM olympicum, nigra
VITIS vinifera , Seyval Blanc, Cascade, cognitiae.
WEIGELA florida “variagata”

X & Y & Z

YUCCA gloriosa , gl. Variagata

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Planting in Dry Shade

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Stipa Arundinacea c

Stipa Arundinacea

Moist shade exists on north facing banks ,walls fences and hollows where rain and run off soaks into the ground and moisture seeping down through the soil can come to the surface.

Far more common is dry shade which is of two types . Permanent , beneath roof overhangs and large evergreen trees and temporary , beneath the canopy of Deciduous trees and shrubs.

For us, in Thanet most recommendations for general shade do not apply as the moist shade experienced in wetter climates and on heavier soils do not apply here . All trees and shrubs extract an enormous quantity of moisture from the soil when they are in leaf and there roots go very deep.

However deciduous trees and shrubs do not take up any moisture during their dormant season , October –may and allow plenty of light to fall to the ground. This is why most woodland plants and bulbs produce their foliage very early in the spring and their flowers soon after. The foliage then often dies down in the summer and autumn, once the leaves come out on the trees above. Evergreen shrubs, climbers and perennials , like holly, ivy and bergenia ,also do most of their active growing during the winter and spring months and effectively go dormant during the summer , to withstand drought and shade. Paradoxically, mediterranean plants that go dormant in the summer months to withstand summer drought are also generally capable of withstanding dry shade created by deciduous trees.

Iris foetidissima 'citrina' cLarge evergreens such as evergreen oaks, eucalyptus and leylandii pose a problem as they take up moisture and cast shade all year round. The area beneath them is best left , with a mulch of leaves and some natural vegetation such as ivy,grass and bulbs,and screened by other shrubs in front. It may be a good site for a shed or compost heap. or other wise paved and used for a sitting area and a few watered pots of busy lizzies etc. Less shaded areas can grassed down but will most likely dry up in summer . When planning a bed or border next to an evergreen hedge or large shrub try, if you have room, to bring it out from the root zone of the hedge, the strip behind can be used as a pathway for cutting the hedge.

Never plant a tree or deciduous shrub under the overhanging branches of another tree, as it will not thrive and will try to grow out sideways towards the light.

Plants for permanently dry shade

  • Arum italicum (pictum and marmoratum)
  • Acanthus Mollis
  • Allium triquestrum
  • Bergenia cordifolia (+cvars)
  • Campanula porcharskyana
  • Euonymus japonica ,jap variegata
  • Euphorbia robbii, wulphenii
  • Fatsia japonica , -false castor oil plant
  • Hedera –Ivies*
  • Iris foetidissima
  • Scilla hispanica
  • Fatsia japonica , -false castor oil plant
  • Vinca difformis ‘Greystoke’‘Jenny pym’
  • Vinca major ‘Surrey marble’‘Variegata’

Plants for dry shade beneath deciduous trees

  • Aucuba Japonica
  • Berberis darwinii,stenophylla and other evergreen types
  • Buxus sempervirens
  • Clematis Armandii
  • Clematis cirrosa
  • Cortaderia “pampas grass”
  • Cotoneaster horizontalis, lacteus ,glaucophyllus etc.
  • Cyclamen hed. (aut fl) coum (spr)
  • Daphne odora ‘aureomarginata’ , phillipi
  • Digitalis lutea, ambigua, parviflora, laevigata.
  • Some ferns Dryopteris affinis/ vars.
  • Dryopteris polyblepharum ,
  • Epimedium sulphureum , warleyensis, orange king.
  • Eranthis hyemalis -Winter aconite
  • Euphorbia amagdaloides rubra,
  • Galanthus nivalis , -snowdrop
  • Geranium Johnsons Blue,. Wargrave pink, macrorhyzum
  • Grisalina littoralis, green and var.
  • Helleborus orientalis, foetidus, corsicus
  • Hemerocallis Autumn Red, Stella D,oro,
  • Scilla nutans
  • Liriope muscari -turf lily
  • Leucojum aesteavum
  • Ilex –holly all varieties.*
  • Iris germanica vars.
  • Muscari armenicum
  • Muscari neglectum
  • Narcissus all vars
  • Oleria macrodonta, virgata liniata
  • pittosporum heterophyllum, het. var
  • P. Tenuifolium
  • Primula vulgaris , primrose
  • Primula veris cowslip
  • Poligonatum hybridum
  • Pulmonaria angustifolia
  • Symphytum caucasicum
  • S. grandiflorum creeping comfrey
  • S. ibericum (yellow)
  • Sarcococca Hookerii Digna, ruscifolia
  • Mahonias
  • Phlomis Jerusalem sage
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Stachys lanata lambs ears
  • Stachys olympicum
  • Sedum specabile Brilliant, Autumn Joy
  • Viola odora- blue , white, sweet Violet
  • Viola rupesris
  • V.minor vars

Damp Shade only

  • Alchemilla Mollis ladies mantle
  • Clematis macropetala, alpina
  • Pulmonaria Saccerata, rubra Lungwort
  • Pleioblastis(low spreading bamboos)
  • Phlox paniculata vars
  • Digitalis purpurea foxglove
  • Helleborus niger Christmas rose
  • Hostas
  • Most ferns
  • Convallaria majalis lily of the valley
  • Viola reevsiana, +alba dogviolet

Most garden plants are quite happy growing in light shade or out of direct sun . However Grey leaved plants are more prone to rotting off if the leaves or roots are permanently wet.

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