July in Kansas often starts out rainy, then turns hot and dry as summer heats up. This is the time of year where we expect big things from our full sun flowers -black eyed Susan, coneflowers, hydrangeas, alliums – but little from the shade garden except wilting leaves. However there are a number of great flowering plants for the shade garden which will bloom nicely in July. Let us look at them.
I have mentioned Globe Thistle (Echinops banaticus) as being one of the best perennials from my garden in 2018. Globe thistle, which reigns in the shade garden for its tall, globular blooms, and its spiky foliage, sends forth its blooms in the worst part of summer-July. The blue-gray globes are attractive to many pollinators and make a striking statement in the garden.
While most hostas are late bloomers (August and September), ‘Royal Standard’, an old favorite blooms in July. If planted in masses, this spreading hosta will provide nectar for bees and delight to the gardener.
Dwarf plumbago has tittering blue blooms in the heat of summer. This ground-hugging spreader will fill in in dry shade and wet shade alike. A mass of these plants will brighten any corner of the shade garden.
Gooseneck loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) can be considered invasive in some parts of the United States, including areas of the northeast, but here in Kansas and Nebraska, we actually have trouble limping it through our tough summer heat. However, if planted in near full shade, this groundcover will take the cake for July blooming. The delicately arched flowers are great for cutting and bees love them!
Many botanists have trouble deciding in Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris) is native to North America or not. However, this member of the mint family will grow in full sun or part shade, dry or wet. Its blooms are a delicate shade of pink to almost purple. It is favored by bees and does very well in the landscape as a slow-moving perennial.
I accidentally found starry campion (Silene stellata) in my woodlands in 2018, while taking trash to the dumpster. This delicate looking native plant can form huge colonies in shade or sun, and really lights up the shade garden. The bright white, starry flowers add just the right amount of color and texture to the garden in July.
Try some of these garden favorites in your shady spots for some heat of the summer, July blooms.