I would like to plant some beesia at the top of a shady ravine.  I am concerned about the moisture level, though.  The area is dry shade, although I could run a line from my drip system along there.  Even though  I’ve read that beesia prefers moist soil, can it do OK with drier conditions? In this area I am trying to replace very established ivy.  If the beesia won’t work, what would you suggest?  Thanks so much!

Epimedium x versicolor 'Neosulphureum'

Epimedium x versicolor ‘Neosulphureum’

We love beesia!  Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be happy with the site you’ve described.  Beesia is an excellent ground cover for shady to part-shady, and consistently moist conditions.  I’m also curious if you’re able to remove all of the ivy.  I would put this at the top of the list, as ivy will pop back up if you haven’t gotten rid of every bit of it, and overwhelm almost any ground cover.

    Here are some suggestions of plants that would be appropriate for a dry shady site:

  • Privot honeysuckle, Lonicera pileata, is an evergreen boxwood-like foliage with a slow spreading habit, and makes a good bank-covering ground cover in part shade.
  • The woodrush, Luzula sylvayica is used as an ornamental ground cover for shady areas. It is best when planted in drifts.
  • Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae also does well in dry shade, after it’s established.
  • It sounds like a site that would be appropriate for native plants such as Oregon grape, Mahonia repens, combined with sword ferns, Polystichum munitum.
  • The sedge, Carex ‘Ice Dance’ makes a nice ground cover in the shade garden, although will look it’s best if kept from average to moist conditions.
  • Evergreen epimediums are great woodland plants and are perfect for dry, shady spots. Epimedium ‘Enchantress’, E. x versicolor ‘Neosulphureum’ and ‘Sulphureum’ are among a few of the evergreen ones.

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