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My property is wet, wet, wet and rocky and nothing grows (not even weeds), so had some large planter boxes built. Tall trees cause low light and deer are other issues, What can I plant that’s decorative that will flourish in low light that will look pretty at varying heights and survive our winters in these boxes?

The boxes are about 24 inches deep and 4 feet long. Is there different soil / fertilizers that should be used for your suggested items as well?


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  1. You have many options that are shade tolerant, deer resistant, cold hardy and decorative whether by way of foliage, form, bloom color or texture. All these elements are essential for winning combinations that wow. For starters, any of the ferns and many of the ornamental grasses, such as Miscanthus virgatum, Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra) or carex are worth considering. They all bring texture, form, and beautiful plumes and sometimes color variety in the case of the grasses and carex. Flowering perennial performers include bleeding heart (Dicentra), moss pink (Phlox subulata), candytuft (Iberis), lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina), lamium, astilbe, and lungwort (Pulmonaria). Even daylilies, hardy geraniums, and catmint (Nepeta) all bloom beautifully in light or filtered shade. Kerria japonica is a stunning spring flowering shrub. Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) tolerates light or filtered shade, and boxwood provides an evergreen element over a long season that sets off and enhances the appearance of other plants. Good luck!

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