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Berkshire, United Kingdom Gb

Hi guys.....I live in the Reading area which is built on clay mostly, and therfore is deeply alkaline.
I have a shady spot in my garden and wondered 'what does well in a shady spot with a heavily alkaline soil?'. I want something very showy if possible.



Your soil may not necessarily be 'deeply alkaline'. Clay is often assumed to be alkaline, but in fact, in London where I live, its neutral to slightly acid, and the substrate is definitely heavy clay. Have you ever done a ph test to confirm? Or do any of your neighbours grow (successfully) rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, skimmia, pieris and most particularly, blue hydrangreas? Because if they do, then the soil isn't 'deeply alkaline'. The real test is blue hydrangeas - here where I live, blue hydrangeas tend to turn pinky lilac, indicating the neutrality of the soil. Obviously, establishing just how alkaline your soil is makes a difference to what you can grow successfully - but even so, in a heavily shaded spot, your choices are limited, so just how shady is it?

9 Apr, 2012


Thanks bamboo. My shady spot gets only very early morning sun. In the winter time i'm not sure it gets any sun at-all?
I think you replied to my previous question on my Camelia which was previously in the ground but i took it out because it was dieing. It was because of this that i asumed my soil was 'deeply alkaline'. The Camelia is now full of buds but i think that's because i went nuts with the ericasous compost/plant food etc. I think i need a soil testing kit so i know for sure!

9 Apr, 2012


The only two I can think of which tolerate both shade and alkaline soil are sarcococca varieties and Symphoricaripos.

9 Apr, 2012

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