Woodlanf Epimedium

Woodland Garden Plants

Choosing the right plants for a small woodland garden requires a little planing. Woodland plants have a few special requirements mostly related to shade and soil conditions as they relate in the UK.

We do love epimediums, pictured right, and they are excellent woodlanders, however many others work just as well.

Creating a woodland garden

The idea when creating a woodland garden is to mimic the conditions of nature. First select an area that receives some good natural shade all year round but especially during summer, look for a position that is is humus rich, or create this by digging in lots of humus, well rotted compost etc. we are trying to mimic the deciduous forests where these delightful plants put on a show of flowers in spring before the trees regain their leaves, this is when the trees provide a cooler summer environment that these plants love. So now we have what should be a suitable position for plants that like a moist woodland position.

Different woodland conditions

However remember that natural woodland conditions vary greatly from dry shade to moist shade including bogs, however the group of woodlanders that require a well drained but moist soil are the among the most attractive of the group. The winter flowering Galanthus (snowdrops) and the spring flowering Erythronium or 'trout lilies', Fritillaria, Trillium, Sanguinaria and Primula are all popular as are Actaea, Libertia, Thalictrum, Deinanthe, Ligularia and Meconopsis.

List of Woodland Plants

Trillium are a favorite woodlander valued for their interesting flowers as well as the foliage which is often marbled and attractive through spring into summer

Galanthus (snowdrops) are amongst the first to flower, yes even when snow is on the ground these flowering wonder will push up to put on a display. They are equally at home when grown in pots or containers

Woodland Plants for dry conditions

But lets not forget those Woodland plants suited for dry areas, these are also much sought after and these include Epimedium, Aquilegia, Lamium, Brunnera, Pulmonaria, Mellitis and the hardy Helleborus

Woodland Plants for moist conditions

Plants that do well in moist conditions include Hostas, a fantastic foliage plant that do well in a woodland situation or they can be grown in pots and containers Deinanthe, Ligularia, Thalictrum and Actaea. Or for wet areas try Rodgersia.

Woodland Plants for foliage

For foliage in the woodland garden it is a little difficult to go past Hosta, some will appear mush earlier than others, minutman being a late show for us. Many have great textured foliage, but watch out for snails and slugs.

Arisaema are another woodlander that are increasingly popular and although they like a little moisture they really do not like soggy conditions during dormancy, so be a little careful with these.

As for Bluebells, as much as they are the 'symbol' of the woodland they do present a few problems in that they really take over and tend to choke everything else, great if you have the space, we don't and are actually getting rid of them from the garden.

Other Woodland Plants to consider for your list

John Allman 

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