Do you have a shaded area in your yard that it seems like nothing will grow?
I feel your pain because I have the same problem spots in my yard. But don’t worry because today I am going to bring you a list of plants that will grow in the shade.
It is my hope that after you read this list, you’ll get a few ideas on what you can plant in those trouble spots to still bring beauty to your yard even in the shade.
So let’s get started—
- 1. Coral Bells
- 2. Dead Nettle
- 3. Foam Flower
- 4. Lungwort
- 5. Astilbe
- 6. Foxglove
- 7. Japanese Forest Grass
- 8. Primrose
- 9. Spurge
- Virginia Blue Bells
- Lily of the Valley
- Louisiana Iris
- Bulbs for Shade
- What are Bulbs?
- Easy Bulbs to Plant
- When to plant bulbs
- Adequate Fertilization
- David Wilson Homes has teamed up with Garden Organic to create the perfect planting cheat sheet for every garden aspect, whether you’ve got a North, South, East or West facing garden.
- Plants for a West-Facing Garden
- Hot Peppers
- Spring Flower Options for Late Winter or Early Spring
- Flowers for Early Spring Bloom
- A List of Mid-Spring Flowers
- Late Spring Flowers
- Visit Your Garden Center
1. Coral Bells
This is a beautiful flowering plant that is actually a perennial. They grow in the shade and are known for their ease.
Apparently, they are easy to grow and require very little maintenance from that point forward.
So if you want something that could add a splash of color and come back year after year then this might be the plant you’ve always wanted.
2. Dead Nettle
This is another perennial that is meant to add beautiful colors and foliage to your shaded garden spots.
Now, the only thing that may make this choice less than perfect for some is that it is used as a ground cover.
So it will make roots and run. If you don’t want something running through your yard (though colorful and pretty) then you might want to choose a different option.
3. Foam Flower
I love the name of this flower. Doesn’t it just sound interesting?
Well, it is a beautiful perennial flower. This one is not a ground cover. Instead, it has lots of individual blooms on one stem.
The appearance is not only unique but colorful as well.
So if you are looking for a splash of color to add to your shady spot then this might be a good option.
This is another very interesting plant. It actually gets its name because long ago people believed it looked like a lung and actually tried to treat lung diseases with it.
Unfortunately, the plant didn’t have any real medicinal powers but the name stuck with it regardless.
However, this plant is a perennial and another one that can take off and run as well. It grows in batches so if you aren’t looking for a ground cover type plant then this might not be a good choice.
But it is one of the few plants that can be planted around trees and withstand the toxic effects of the Black Walnut tree.
This perennial is a beautiful flower that loves the shade. It also brings along a special quality when planted.
So if you are a butterfly lover then this plant is for you. When you plant these flowers, they draw them which is a great addition to any yard or flower garden.
Foxgloves are undecided in the perennial and annual department. The same plant will not come back year after year.
But they do reseed themselves which makes them come back year after year.
So if you need a plant that will come back each year and provide lots of beautiful colors then Foxgloves are for you.
7. Japanese Forest Grass
This is an interesting plant. It is a perennial so you should only have to plant it once.
But it isn’t extremely colorful by any means. However, it looks like a little pom-pom made of grass.
So if you are looking for something to add a finishing touch to a shaded area without adding a rainbow of color then this is a good option.
To make sure your Japanese Forest Grass is thriving, you might want to give it the best fertilizer.
A primrose can be either an annual or a perennial flower.
So if you try them out and decide they aren’t for you then they don’t have to be a permanent fixture.
But after you see their bright colors and good temperament towards cold weather, you may decide to keep them around.
Spurge is another that can be a perennial or an annual depending upon where you live. If you live in the frost-free zone then it will stay year round.
However, if you live in a colder area then it is an annual. Regardless, it is a beautiful flower that can add lots of life to a shaded space.
So if you are looking for a plant that won’t add a rainbow effect but still add a splash of color to your shaded areas then you might want to consider spurge.
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Spring is fast approaching and the time has come to choose perennials for your garden. Though this task may seem daunting at first, it is relatively simple once you decide what type of environment you wish to create.
Perhaps you are looking to create a secluded area where you can read your favorite book and enjoy the sounds of nature while remaining cool under the foliage.
To help develop a shade garden, you will want to make sure there is a good mixture of medium and large plants to help provide shade from the sun. To add color to your garden, you will need to stage the area.
Here are the best perennials to choose to create your relaxing environment in the shade.
When you plant astilbe in your garden, you will find that you have a plant with dense foliage and flowery blooms to help breathe life into your shade garden.
This perennial, generally a native of Asia with a few varieties (such as false goatsbeard) native to North America, is perfect when planted in a group and used along flower beds, or as a border edging.
The astilbe, which normally blooms in June or July, offers a variety of aesthetically pleasing colors like pink, red, purple, or peach. It ranges from 6 to 18 inches high.
What makes choosing this perennial perfect for your shade garden? How easy they are to grow. You only need to make sure the soil is soft, and rich in nutrients.
It is ideal to use mulch around these perennials not only to help keep the weeds down, but to help feed the plant as it slowly decomposes. An added bonus for astilbe is how little they are affected by insect or disease problems. You can read about growing astilbe in more detail here.
If you want to make a statement with your shade garden, foxglove is the perfect addition.
Though the individual blossoms on this plant are small, about the size of a thimble, they grow in glorious spiky clusters that bring life to every inch of your garden in various colors like white, yellow, pink, red, lavender, or purple.
The plant, which ranges from 1 foot tall up to 6 feet, starts to bloom during the summer months.
When you are planting foxglove you need to make sure they are planted 15 to 20 inches apart in moist soil. If they are placed too close together, the flowers have a tendency to clump together and will need to be divided by hand.
Just like astilbe, foxglove benefits from a solid mulch bed that helps make it the perfect perennial by being able to reseed itself on a yearly basis.
Keep in mind that foxglove is extremely poisonous, and should not be planted in gardens where young children play.
Virginia Blue Bells
Commonly found in the eastern half of North America, the Virginia blue bell is the perfect addition to any garden.
Though the blooms are short lived and tend to only last through the spring months, Virginia blue bells offer beautiful, full clusters of sky blue bell-shaped blossoms.
You should make sure to surround this perennial with other blooming plants that tend to come alive more in the later months.
When planting Virginia blue bells, you should keep them 12 inches apart during the initial stages. The biggest concern is to keep the soil rich with nutrients. These will benefit from additional fertilizer in moist soil.
As with foxglove, the Virginia blue bell propagates better by seed, and will be well nourished in a minimal mulch bed.
Like native blue flowers? Find more varieties here!
Lily of the Valley
Perhaps you want to add a shorter, spreading groundcover to your shade garden by planting a perennial that grows slowly, creating a thick carpet of green with fragrant flowers. If so, lily of the valley is ideal for your secluded space.
This variety offers a welcome sight with tiny, white, bell-shaped flowers that last from spring to late summer while offering a pleasing fragrance.
These perennials are the most likely to thrive when planted at the end of fall or very early in spring, kept in clumps no more than 4 inches apart.
The soil will need to be rich with nutrients and less acidic to help these plants provide a natural ground cover that lasts, especially in the northern states.
Just like the astilbe, the lily of the valley is very hardy when it comes to withstanding the affects of insects or disease. Be wary with kids or pets, as this plant is also poisonous.
Perhaps you live in an environment where the conditions are not ideal for the majority of perennials, an area like Texas or Arizona with acidic soils and wet conditions in the fall and spring.
The Louisiana iris is the perfect solution to add color to your garden. The blooms grow on 2 to 3 foot stems and can be found in a variety of colors like blue, purple, pink, white, and dark red.
Though the Louisina iris is able to survive in tougher conditions, it still needs to be planted in moist soil. It can be sustained with fewer feedings than what is required for astilbe and foxglove.
If you are looking to add the perfect complement to the edge of a water garden, the Louisiana iris is a garden favorite, especially when in bloom during the summer months.
Take your time in chooing the right perennials for your shade garden, and you will enjoy them for years to come. And for more about different types of iris, check out our articles on the classic variety here, as well as some info on cutting back bicolor iris.
What are you favorites? Share with us in the comments.
Looking for more perennial flower suggestions? Try these:
- 17 Temperate Flowering Perennials That Will Grow Almost Anywhere
- 15 Flowering Ground Covers to Meet Landscaping Challenges
- Perennials for Butterfly Gardens
- 9 Best Full-Sun Flowering Perennials for Southern Gardens
Photo credit: .
Bulbs for Shade
Bulbs for shade gardens make your shady areas look loads better with refreshing flashes of color given by their flowers. Why put up with a dull and unused shade area of the garden when you can plant some fantastic bulbs to brighten it up.
I’ll help you explore what are collectively referred to as bulbs and which ones are suitable for shade.
- what bulbs are
- examples of bulbs that are generally easy to plant
- when to plant your bulbs for a shade garden
- tips on fertilization
What are Bulbs?
A bulb is an underground vertical shoot with modified leaves (or thick leaf bases) that store food for an undeveloped plant, for example, Tulips, Bluebells, and Daffodils.
A corm is a vertical underground stem which develops a bud at the tip and roots, for example, Gladiolus.
A rhizome is a horizontal stem of a plant that typically thrives underground, which delivers roots and shoots out of the ground, for example Irises and Lily of the valley.
Occasionally mistaken for a bulb, a tuber is the enlarged or fleshy part of an underground stem which stores nutrients for new plants developing from buds or ‘eyes’, for example Dahlia and Potato.
Easy Bulbs to Plant
Although most bulbs prefer a full blanket of sun that lasts about six to eight hours per day, plant spring bulbs that flourish under shade of deciduous trees.
Early bloomers easily thrive under shady lighting conditions due to the lack of leaves on trees during their development. These are considered some of the best bulbs to plant for impressive results:
Some companion selections go nicely together:
- Tuberous Begonias
- Crocus Flowers
- Grape Hyacinths
Fun-sounding bulbs make great conversation pieces:
- Green Dragon
- Jack in the Pulpit
- Dog’s tooth violet
To add an inviting arrangement, consider foliage bulbs such as the colorful red bursts of Caladiums with their attractive leaves.
When to plant bulbs
When planting your spring flowering bulbs, place them at a depth that is two to three times their height. For the majority of the most common selections such as daffodils and tulips – this is around eight inches deep.
Remember to plant daffodils, tulips, and hyacinth with their root plate pointing downward and the tip of the bulb pointing towards the sky.
Avoid planting bulbs too close to trees with shallow roots – like beech, maple, and dogwood. These will battle your bulbs for water and nutrients, threatening the blooms for the next year.
When bulbs for shade are planted close to trees and other shrubs, soil fertility is often a consideration as bulbs compete for water and nutrients.
Adequate fertilization is a must for cultivating strong plants. A spring application of balanced fertilizer is suggested with a follow-up of one to two applications throughout the growing season.
Most shade bulbs thrive in well-drained soil, while roots saturated with water will rot. If you live in a location with sandy soil, add organic material in order to slow water traveling through the soil, giving your plants a chance to absorb the liquid.
With little effort bulbs for shade gardens can easily become a wonderland of varying heights, textures, and colors.
- Fall Bulbs
- Fall Flower Bulbs
- Fall Bulbs Allium
- Fall Bulbs Amaryllis
- Fall Bulbs Anemone
- Fall Bulbs Astilbe
David Wilson Homes has teamed up with Garden Organic to create the perfect planting cheat sheet for every garden aspect, whether you’ve got a North, South, East or West facing garden.
Whether you’ve lucked out with a South facing garden or not, these planting cheat sheets will help you to unleash the full potential of your garden! Each guide below outlines which plants to grow and where, depending on where the shade falls in your garden.
Planting cheat sheets for each garden aspect
North facing garden:
One huge benefit of a North facing garden is the evening sunshine it’ll enjoy throughout May to October. Vegetables that do well in these conditions, with three to four hours of sun, include rocket, lettuce, mint, oregano and chives.
Emma from Garden Organic also recommends sarcococca and ivy as two of the most reliable plants in a North facing garden. “Sarcococca can be used as hedging or a standalone shrub and has a beautiful scent. Ivy is a rapid climber with wonderful autumn colour and gives good coverage on buildings.”
South facing garden:
South facing gardens see very little shade so they’re the perfect opportunity to grow heat loving, sun basking plants. Grow watermelon, squash, okra, tomatoes and peppers for the kitchen, while allium can promise glorious colour and extravagant shape in the spring and summer months. Additionally, a grass like Hakonechloa will provide year-round interest.
East facing garden:
East facing gardens are especially lovely for morning larks, as they see most of their sunshine in the morning hours, while evening shade will enhance the impact of white flowers in the garden. Emma says, “East facing can be cooler and shadier. Euphorbia characias has lime flowers which stand for an exceptionally long period and are very reliable, whilst hardy geraniums flower all summer and are easy to grow.”
East facing gardens are perfect for growing carrots, peppers and leafy greens.
West facing garden:
Unlike the East, the West facing garden will see sunshine in the afternoon and evening so must incorporate plants which will flourish in hot summer afternoon sunshine. Ideal plants for these conditions include camellias, daphne and verbena bonairiensis. Try out tomatoes, squash and peppers in your veg patch.
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Plants for a West-Facing Garden
Beach Sunset image by Wendy Lea Morgan from Fotolia.com
A west-facing garden bed is a special challenge. It does not get sun all day, but the sun it does get can be unbearably hot, causing some flowers and other garden plants to fade and wilt. Plant hot-weather-loving, tropical-like plants in a west-facing garden bed for the best results.
Stately giants of the garden, sunflowers (Helianthus annus) have been extensively hybridized, and varieties are available in all sizes, from 12 inches to 12 feet. The range of colors is in the warm family: all shades of yellow, gold, rust, maroon and even cream. Their prominent centers produce edible seeds that birds and squirrels find irresistible. Because they turn their faces to follow the path of the sun across the sky, sunflowers will face front and center late in the day in a west-facing garden.
A tender tropical vine, bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.) thrives in hot locations, including a west-facing garden. For best results, ensure your garden also receives some sun earlier in the afternoon; bougainvilleas really love the heat. Provide a support on which this flowering vine can climb. It is not uncommon for bougainvillea vines to grow to 15 feet in a single growing season. Its flowers are most often reddish-pink, but varieties with light pink or whitish flowers are also available.
The garden vegetable that loves heat the most, hot peppers (Capsicum annuum) will thrive in a west-facing garden, especially if they’re planted against a stone, brick or concrete wall that reflects the heat. Peppers are native to Central and South America and tolerate the intense heat of a harsh western exposure without reducing their yields. Counter intuitively, hot peppers will not need extra moisture if sited in a west-facing garden and will produce fewer peppers if over watered.
Every gardener dreams of spring flowers during the dark days of winter, and looks forward eagerly to the first burst of spring color. Spring arrives at different times depending on where you live, but the sequence of blooms is similar in most places. With that in mind, watch for these favorites in your own garden or in the garden next door.
Spring Flower Options for Late Winter or Early Spring
While some gardeners can enjoy year-round blooms, this list has flowers for the very beginning of spring in most areas. Experienced gardeners often create vignettes in one area to make the most of this early color, such as planting a pool of winter aconite at the feet of a witch hazel.
- Winter Aconite: Also known as Eranthis, these pale yellow blooms might be considered insignificant later in the year, but they are a joyous sight when they push through the snow.
- Witch Hazel: These shrubs add a wonderful touch of yellow in the early spring garden. Some cultivars bloom red.
- Crocus: The earliest varieties, such as Crocus chrysanthus, Crocus sieberi and Crocus tommasinianus, bloom through the snow. These are the small crocus that usually flower in shades of purple or yellow.
- Hellebore: These are often known by common names such as Christmas Rose and Lenten Rose in areas with mild winters.
- Camellia: This beautiful shrub has lovely blossoms in mild winter climates or early spring in slightly harsher areas.
- Snowdrop: This is another early bulb that sometimes blooms even through the snow.
- Chionodoxa: This is commonly called Glory of the Snow. These pale blue flowers bloom as the snow melts.
- Pansy: Cool growers, pansies bloom early and hardy to frost and snow. The will continue to bloom until the weather turns hot.
Flowers for Early Spring Bloom
Early spring brings rain, mud, and more flowers. Look for these favorites.
- Daffodil: The earliest narcissi appear in early spring, especially small cultivars like Tete-a-Tete.
- Iris Reticulata: The large iris are a summer pleasure, but this small beauty is an early spring treasure.
- Forsythia: This bright yellow shrub literally screams “Springtime!”
- Scilla: These small bulbs produce wonderful blue and purple blossoms.
- Anemone: The blanda species produces pale blue and white starry blossoms for the spring garden.
- Pussy Willow: Salix discolor and Salix caprea were standards in many grandmothers’ gardens, but new varieties have larger and more strongly-colored catkins to delight today’s gardeners.
A List of Mid-Spring Flowers
- Daffodil: These are the glory of the mid-spring blossoms. Large, late varieties like King Alfred and Mount Hood are brilliant even on rainy days.
- Tulip: On everyone’s list of spring flowers, these are starting their long period of bloom in mid-spring.
- Rhododendron and azaleas: Both are just starting their springtime display.
- Muscari: Often planted with daffodils and tulips, muscari hug the ground beneath those taller flowers.
- Redbud trees: Their branches are outlined with wonderful pink blooms before their leaves appear.
- Dogwood trees: These are breathtaking in the spring garden.
- Magnolia Tree: The star magnolia, Magnolia stellata, is the first to bloom.
- Trillium: This is just one of the many wildflowers that bloom before the large trees are fully leafed out.
- Ornamental forms of Cherry and Crabapple trees are beautiful in mid-spring.
- Hyacinths: These spring flowers bring scent as well as color to the spring garden.
- Primrose: Jewels in the spring garden, Primula veris (Cowslip) and Primula vulgare (Common primrose) are the best known, but you will find many varieties are available in garden centers.
Late Spring Flowers
- Lily of the Valley: This highly fragant flower typically blooms in late spring, but it can bloom earlier in years with mild winters.
- Magnolia Tree: Magnolia x soulangiana, the saucer magnolia, is a beautiful late spring bloomer.
- Lilac: This shrub fills the late spring garden with scent and color.
- Spiraea: These shrubs are an old-fashioned favorite.
- Peonies: These shrubs carry the garden from late spring into summer.
- Allium: Somewhat prosaically called the “flowering onion,” this bloom is spectacular.
- Wood Anemone: Anemones are always lovely in the wilderness garden.
- Jack in the Pulpit: This wildflower is a favorite in spring.
Visit Your Garden Center
There’s nothing like a visit to your local garden center in the springtime to find out what’s blooming in your region. You’re bound to find old favorites and perhaps a few types of flowers you’ve never seen before. As long as you can provide the growing condtions required, don’t hesitate to bring a new plant home and make it part of your own spring garden.