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Ann Johnson Design | the blog

The Perfect Shade Plant

An all time favorite plant finally made the list. And in my opinion it is long over due. I believe it didn't make the list before because they are a bit rare, expensive, but worth the search. One criteria we use on the committee, is that it has to be available and that the growers here in Georgia have enough in supply for the public.

If I had to chose one plant for a container, and only one for shade darker than your closet, it would be Sacred Lily, Nippon Lily Rohdea japonica, pronounced {ROE-dee-ah jah-PON-ih-kah} for you plant nerds. That is what would it be. I don’t even have to think twice about that answer.

One of the problems over the many years as a designer, is to find something that looks great year round, hard to kill, and oh yeah needs to grow in a container in Georgia with 100 degree weather for weeks on end. Of course it doesn't hurt when a friend drops by, gasps, oohs and aahs..and hasn't a clue what it is.. no pressure, right?

Believe it or not this one fits the bill. The leaves are evergreen, thick and shiny, with a tight growth pattern which clumps well. Unlike the Cast Iron Plant, Aspidistra Elatior another great texture, its leaves doesn't brown in the winter months. The bonus is showy flowers that produces bright red berries. It is a joy to see looking fab in the garden here in Atlanta at the end of January. Of course good soil in the container is always a must. Fafard is a personal favorite, although there are many good ones out there. Once established drought tolerant, go get some, you won't be sorry!

Zone 7 through 9. Deer Proof Culture: part to full shade, moist to dry soil. Uses container, masses, dry shade.

Design and Photo By: Ann Johnson Design ( Rohdea Japonica center in front of rocks)

Design and Photo by: Ann Johnson Design

Photo of Flower from:

A companion plant such as Variegate 'Glacier' Ivy give balance. photo by

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