General Question

Pandora's avatar

Can anyone suggest a plant to grow under Elephant Ears that doesn't mind having wet roots?

Asked by Pandora (29242points) April 24th, 2015

Every year I grow elephant ears. I love them but I have a problem growing anything underneath them. They grow against a fence, so between the fence and the large leaves (lots of shade), and wet soil (which elephant ears need), I can’t find anything that will survive underneath them.

I would love something that will flower and won’t grow taller than about a 12 to 18 inches. The stalk always looks bare around it once the plant reaches it’s 6 foot height.

I’m alright with non flowering as well, but I would like something full. My elephant ears usually last from May till mid October. So it would be nice to have the plants under it last that long as well. My zone is 7A. Please attach links if possible.

I’ve looked everywhere but I can’t seem to find anything, that meets all the requirements.
Summary,
Bushy
12–18 inches
With or without flowers
May – October life span
Damp soil
under shade, only with afternoon sun

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12 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Hosta came to mind first, but snails love them and that sounds like prime snail habitat. Ferns might work.

Pandora's avatar

I had hostas there before, and the slugs ate the crap out of them. They don’t seem to care for elephant ears.
I never considered ferns. Don’t they like a lot of light?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Just checked, hostas don’t like wet soil. Some ferns do well in the shade.

Pandora's avatar

@gailcalled Wow all great suggestions. I thought of lilies of the valley. I really love them but I’m not sure it will do great with the water.
The gout weed looks awesome too. Well they all do but I love how it can be shaped into looking like a carpet. Only problem with most of them is that on the other side of the fence is my neighbor and I think they may present a problem. Well. They may not mind the gout weed since it looks more like a plant and has some height to it.
One of your links led me to another link and then to this link. Although it grows 3 to 5 feet, I was thinking I may decide not to grow the elephant ears this year and give these guys a try. Do you think they they will do well?

snowberry's avatar

How about parsley? I think it likes damp soil too.

gailcalled's avatar

@Pandora; Talk to your gardening neighbors and the local garden center for advice about hydrangeas, of which there are dozens of choices. They will need some sun.

If you have a neighbor on the other side of your fence, think long and hard about planting my ground cover suggestions, which will invade.

Pandora's avatar

I asked several ladies at the gardening center last year and some had no idea or would also suggest plants that would possibly invade my neighbors yard. I did try two of their suggestions but they didn’t do well at all. I think they didn’t get enough sun.
The fern idea may also work I guess if the Hydrangeas don’t . I’ve at least seen some grow in thick shaded conditions.
I think they did suggest a fern last year but I thought it wouldn’t do well without much light. Especially since the ones they had were all out in full light. I guess I may need to just find the right one.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I thought of Bleeding Hearts, They might work well. Also, have you ever thought of a bog garden? I’ve been thinking of one of those.

gailcalled's avatar

I have lady ferns growing wild in my woods next to a small creek; I transplant them all the time to shade gardens (zone 4b).The smaller bleeding heart, dicentra exemia is a very good idea.

Pandora's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe My goodness. I think you hit it with Bleeding hearts. I forgot about them. I grew them in a pot for a sunny spot and had to move them to a shady spot because the water was evaporating faster than I could keep watering it. It needed water everyday in a sunny spot. But I remember the blooms for the whole summer. People kept asking me its name but I didn’t remember. They stopped blooming when I let them get too dry while I was on vacation. If it was in the area where I grow the elephant ears, it probably would’ve done quite fine since it is always moist.

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