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Screening plant for fully-shaded Mediterranean climate

September 06, 2020 — BarryK

I have been having fun putting in some plants in the garden. Standing at my front door and look to the side, I can see my neighbour's front porch. What I would like is a screening plant, fairly dense, about 1.8 metres (6ft) or thereabouts high. Problem is, that spot in the garden is on the south side of the house, in the Southern hemisphere, fully in shade for most of the year. In mid-summer, it will get some sun, for part of the day.

I live on the outskirts of Perth, Western Australia, about 3km from the coast, and the climate is mild, usually described as Mediterranean, or similar to California, for example:

Today I put in drip irrigation, so can take care of keeping some moisture in the soil over the upcoming summer. Interesting, the climate in the South West of Australia has been changing, with more rain in the summer: is alarming that this has occurred over a small time-frame, just 16 years.

Anyway, I need to find a suitable screening plant, that will tolerate having only indirect sunlight for most of the year. I want to be able to prune it so as not to grow as high as the eaves of the house, and to keep it dense. So far, I have settled on two possibilities, Sweet Box (Sarcococca Confusa) and Dwarf Umbrella (Schefflera Arboricola).

Sweet Box


Dwarf Umbrella

There are two completely different plants going by the common name of Umbrella Tree. The one that interests me is Schefflera Arboricola, native of Taiwan, which doesn't grow as tall.


...hmm, that specimen is above the roof-line. I would have to prune it to keep it at 6ft, and I wonder if that will turn out to be a struggle, to keep it under control.

Haven't decided yet. Whatever is chosen, it will have to be available locally.

EDIT 2020-09-13:
I chose Schefflera Amate, see post:   

Tags: general