- Flowering shrubs for shade – Top picks for the garden & yard
- 16 Flowering Shrubs for Shade
- Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
- Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica)
- Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
- Slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis)
- Glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)
- Witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.)
- Virginia sweet spire (Itea virginica)
- Oregon holly grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
- Japanese pieris/Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
- Sweet shrub/Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floiridis)
- Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
- Coralberry/snowberry (Symphoricarpus spp.)
- Rhodies and Azaleas
- Evergreen azaleas (Rhododendron )
- Deciduous azaleas (Rhododendron )
- Rhododendron (Rhododendron species, hybrids, and cultivars)
- PJM Rhododendron (Rhododendron x PJM)
- Shade-Loving Shrubs
- Types of Shade-Loving Shrubs
- Big Leaves, Big Impact
- Big-leaved plants
- See 18 best large indoor plants for your home or office. Tall houseplants look fascinating and create the illusion of an enlarged interior.
- Best Large Indoor Plants
- 1. Norfolk Island Pine
- 2. Yucca
- 3. Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana)
- 4. Philodendron
- 5. Polyscias (Ming Aralia)
- 6. Croton (Codiaeum)
- 7. Ficus
- 8. Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
- 9. Fatsia Japonica (False Castor)
- 10. Adenium (Desert Rose)
- 11. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
- 12. Dracaena
- 13. Fiddle leaf fig
- 14. Monstera deliciosa
- 15. Palms
- 16. Ponytail Palm
- 17. Bird of Paradise
- 18. Bamboo
- Related posts:
Flowering shrubs for shade – Top picks for the garden & yard
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If you’re a gardener or homeowner with a lot of shade on your property, you may find yourself struggling to find plants that thrive and bloom with minimal sunlight, especially when it comes to shrubs. While there are many colorful flowering perennials and annuals for shade, there are far fewer shrubs with vivid blooms for shady conditions. Today, I’d like to introduce you to 16 flowering shrubs for shade to fill your landscape with color from early spring through fall. There’s even a shrub for shade that blooms in the winter on this list!
16 Flowering Shrubs for Shade
The large, conical flowers of oakleaf hydrangea appear in summer.
Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
A wide-spreading, 6-foot-tall, North American native shrub for shade, oakleaf hydrangea deserves a home in every shady landscape. Even in the winter the peeling bark of the oakleaf hydrangea is deserving of our attention. The large, oak leaf-like leaves turn an amazing orange and then a deep burgundy in the autumn. Large, cone-shaped panicles of creamy white flowers are produced from the woody stems in summer. The merits of this shrub for shade cannot be stressed enough. It’s a personal favorite for its four-season interest. Hardy to -20 degrees F.
Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica)
Kerria is a small genus of underused flowering shrubs for shade (or sun!). The plants have bright green stems and leaves, and sunny yellow flowers. These shrubs are very tolerant of shade and poor soil. Thin out the old stems every few years by cutting them back to the ground just after the plant flowers. Kerrias are prolific bloomers that reach a height of 6 feet. The inch-wide flowers are produced in spring. The cultivar ‘Pleniflora’ has double flowers and a taller, more vigorous growth habit.
Mountain laurels are stunning evergreen flowering shrubs for shade. Plus, they’re deer resistant!
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
Laurels are evergreen flowering shrubs for shade that are native to the eastern U.S. The leaves are smooth-edged and glossy, dark green. The large clusters of tea cup-shaped flowers are absolutely stunning (albeit a little sticky). They appear on the plants in late spring and can be purple, pink, white, or bicolored. This woodland flowering shrub is hardy to -30 degrees F and has many different cultivars. Spreads 5 to 15 feet tall and wide, and has a rounded, yet open shape. Choose a shady location for this shrub, and make sure the soil is acidic by fertilizing with a granular, acid-specific fertilizer annually.
Slender deutzia offers arching branches of white flowers every spring.
Slender deutzia (Deutzia gracilis)
These spring-blooming flowering shrubs for shade are deciduous and vase-shaped. They’re easy to grow in average garden soil and require very little care. Topping out at around 5 feet tall, they can be kept smaller by pruning them just after they bloom. The prolific flowers are pure white and nearly an inch wide. Each five-petaled flower lasts for several weeks. Slender deutzia is hardy to -20 degrees F. Though deutzia flowers best in areas that receive full sun, this shrub is quite tolerant of partial to moderate shade, though dense shade should be avoided. The dwarf cultivar ‘Yuki Cherry’ has pink petals for added interest.
The tubular, spring blooms of glossy abelia are a welcome sight to many spring pollinators.
Glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)
This semi-evergreen shrub grows between 3 to 6 feet tall and thrives in areas of full sun to moderate shade, though flowering is better where the plant receives at least a few hours of sun per day. The arching branches produce clusters of small, but showy, tubular flowers. The blooms are white with a blush of pink. This hybrid abelia is hardy to -10 degrees F and blooms in summer. This plant flowers on new growth, so it can easily be pruned back hard and still bloom in the very same season. The variety ‘Edward Goucher’ is a shorter selection that produces larger, lavender blooms.
Winter-blooming witch hazel species have so much to offer shady spots in the landscape.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.)
There is nothing better than a witch hazel when it comes to surprises. Just when you think there’s nothing in bloom in the garden, the witch hazel struts its stuff! Among the only winter-flowering shrubs for shade, Vernal witch hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) pops out fringe-like yellow, rust, or red-colored blooms in the dead of winter. Chinese witch hazel (H. mollis) is another winter-blooming selection, while common witch hazel (H. virginiana) blooms in fall. Most witch hazels are hardy to -10 degrees, though some are hardier and others less so, depending on the species. Witch hazels are deciduous and easy to grow in ordinary garden soil, but moist areas are best. With a structure much like a small tree, these flowering shrubs for shade have an added bonus: the blooms of many varieties are also fragrant! Those seeking North American natives should plant common witch hazel or vernal witch hazel.
The fragrant, elongated blooms of Virginia sweet spire are followed by red foliage in the autumn.
Virginia sweet spire (Itea virginica)
This North American native shrub blooms in summer and is hardy down to -20 degrees F. Long panicles of creamy white flowers drip from the stems in mid summer. While this shrub does well in full sun, it’s surprisingly tolerant of shade, too. The deciduous nature of the plant means there are no leaves on it during the winter, but in the fall, the foliage turns a deep red-purple that’s just stunning. The fragrant blooms are adored by many of our native pollinators. ‘Little Henry’ is a great dwarf variety.
Oregon holly grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
The low-growing habit of these flowering shrubs for shade makes it a good fit for foundation plantings, garden beds, and shrub borders. Their evergreen leaves are compound, and the yellow, fragrant flowers are borne in long panicles. In the fall, the plant is covered in small, dark berries. Oregon holly grape prefers a shady spot that’s protected from winter winds. It reaches 6 feet in height and is hardy down to -20 degrees F.
When the pink buds of this Japanese pieris open, they’ll reveal clusters of tiny, bell-shaped, white flowers that smell sweet.
Japanese pieris/Andromeda (Pieris japonica)
When I was a kid, we had a pair of Japanese pieris flanking our front walk. My mother called them “pierce-a-ponicas” which I though was their real name until I took a shrub ID class in college. Despite my mom’s mispronunciation of the name, I grew to really love these amazing flowering shrubs for shade. They’re deer resistant, evergreen, and very winter hardy. Large clusters of slightly fragrant, white, bell-shaped blooms extend from the ends of the branches in early spring and are a favorite of queen bumblebees and other early pollinators. The plants grow to 10 feet in height, especially in protected sites where they’re sheltered from drying winter winds. Some cultivars, such as ‘Mountain Fire‘, have vivid red new growth in the spring, while other cultivars, such as ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ and ‘Flamingo’, have pink flowers instead of white.
Carolina allspice is a knock-your-socks-off flowering shrub for shady areas that produces sweet/spicy scented blooms.
Sweet shrub/Carolina allspice (Calycanthus floiridis)
Oh how I love sweet shrubs! These fragrant, gorgeous, North American native flowering shrubs for shade are so delightful. Topping out at 8 feet in height, this deciduous shrub produces uniquely shaped, dark purple-pink blooms along the length of its stems. Spring blooming and perfect for sites that are anywhere from partial shade to full sun, Carolina sweet shrubs do best in well-draining soils, though they’ll do just fine in average garden soil as long as they’re irrigated during dry spells.
Smooth hydrangeas are reliable bloomers, even in shady conditions.
Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
Another North American native hydrangea for shade, the smooth hydrangea has so much to offer. With an upright but open shape and excellent winter hardiness (down to -20 degrees F), these flowering shrubs for shade produce globe-shaped clusters of creamy white blooms in high summer. Topping out around 4 feet tall, the straight species is lovely, but showier cultivars, such as ‘Annabelle’ and ‘Grandiflora’, produce larger blooms. Unlike many other hydrangea species, the flowers of smooth hydrangea are produced on new growth, so pruning can take place in the early spring and there’s no chance of cutting off the current season’s blooms.
Coralberries and snowberries aren’t known for their flowers, but their clusters of berries add a decorative element to shade gardens.
Coralberry/snowberry (Symphoricarpus spp.)
Ok, so, I’m cheating a bit here. While coralberries and snowberries are flowering shrubs for shade, they’re much better known for their berries than they are for their flowers. These hardy, deciduous shrubs are North American natives that produce fairly small, unremarkable blooms, but their berries are just lovely in the autumn and winter landscape. Some species serve as a host plant for the day-flying snowberry clearwing moth (also called the hummingbird moth). The snowberry (S. albus) grows to 4 feet and produces pink flowers followed by white fruits. It’s hardy down to -50 degrees F. The coralberry (S. orbiculatus) has white flowers followed by coral-colored fruits. Plus, the fall foliage is a lovely crimson.
Rhodies and Azaleas
What we gardeners commonly call rhododendrons and azaleas are actually one very large genus of plants botanically classified in the genus Rhododendron. Gardeners distinguish rhododendrons from azaleas by how their flowers are produced. Azalea flowers are funnel-shaped and borne singly, while rhododendron flowers are larger and produced in clusters. All rhododendrons are evergreen, but there are both evergreen and deciduous azalea species. Regardless, both rhododendrons and azaleas are great flowering shrubs for shade. They are both attractive to early season pollinators and make beautiful statements in partial to full shade. Here are some excellent varieties of both rhodies and azaleas.
Azaleas are excellent flowering evergreen shrubs for shade.
Evergreen azaleas (Rhododendron )
Most evergreen azaleas are native to Asia, but a few species are native to North America. There are thousands of evergreen azalea species, hybrids, and cultivars – so many that it’s difficult to keep them straight. Azaleas can range in height from mini varieties that top out at just 2 feet tall, all the way up to full-sized specimens that grow to 8 feet in height. Azaleas produce a wide range of flower colors, from salmon pink and white to purple, red, and lavender. Their hardiness varies, though many are hardy to -20 degrees F. If you’re looking for a great flowering evergreen shrub for shade, azaleas are a terrific choice.
Deciduous azaleas are another terrific shrub for shade. The elongated flowers appear in early spring.
Deciduous azaleas (Rhododendron )
Deciduous azaleas are among my favorite flowering shrubs for shade. While their branches are bare in the winter, the clusters of tubular flowers that appear in spring are real show-stoppers. My favorite group of deciduous azaleas are the Exbury hybrids. These upright azaleas reach a height of 4 to 5 feet and produce trusses of flowers that can be red, pink, cream, orange, or yellow. Hardy to -20 degrees F, these flowering shrubs for shade prefer well-drained soils high in organic matter. The royal azalea (R. schlippenbachii) is another deciduous species that grows up to 10 feet tall, with leaves clustered at the end of the twigs and pink flowers in the spring.
Rhododendrons are arguably the most recognizable flowering shrub for shade.
Rhododendron (Rhododendron species, hybrids, and cultivars)
Rhododendrons are a large group of woody plants with broad, evergreen leaves. The bell-shaped flowers are borne in huge clusters at the ends of the stems. The showy flowers each have 5 to 10 stamens and are treasured by bigger bee species and butterflies. Rhododendrons prefer well-drained, acid soil with lots of organic matter. Use sulfur or a granular fertilizer formulated specifically for evergreens. Partial and dappled shade is best for rhododendrons; deep shade may reduce flowering. However, some species and hybrids are more tolerant of deep shade than others.
Rhododendrons may exhibit winter die-back during years of particularly cold weather or in windy areas. Larger species, such as R. catawbiense, can grow 10 feet tall, while shorter species, such as R. yakusimanum, reaches just 3 feet in height. All rhododendrons bloom in spring. Their hardiness varies, depending on the species, but most are hardy to at least -10 degrees F with many species exhibiting hardiness way beyond that.
PJM rhodies have purple leaves in the winter and produce flowers in the spring, sometimes with a second smattering of blooms in the fall.
PJM Rhododendron (Rhododendron x PJM)
This group of broadleaf evergreen rhododendrons is a delightful addition to any shady garden. They’re among the hardiest of all flowering shrubs for shade, surviving easily down to -30 degrees F. PJMs grow up to 6 feet tall and wide. The bright lavender-pink flowers appear in spring, often with a smattering of reblooms in the autumn. Just like other rhododendrons, PJMs prefer acidic soil that’s well drained. This group of hybrids produces compact growth and small, dark leaves. It’s hardier than many other rhododendron types and the foliage turns a deep purple in the winter.
For more exceptional plants for your landscape, check out the following posts:
- Perennials for shade
- Annuals for the shade
- Small-stature flowering shrubs for sun
- Dwarf evergreen trees
- 3 Small flowering trees
- Compact evergreen shrubs
Do you grow any of these terrific flowering shrubs for shade? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section below!
Do you want to incorporate shrubs into the landscape but find that most of your space is limited by shade? Don’t despair. There are actually many beautiful, shade-loving shrubs that thrive in anything from dappled to heavy shade. Shrubs have many uses in the landscape such as foundation plantings, privacy hedges, and specimen plants. Shrubs can make wonderful focal points in the garden, especially shade gardens.
Types of Shade-Loving Shrubs
There are many types of shade-loving shrubs for the landscape. Some of the more popular ones include:
- Carolina allspice – Carolina allspice is a shade-loving shrub that not only adds interest with its reddish-purple flowers, but this shrub also emits a pleasant spicy aroma.
- Honeysuckle – Also worthy in the shade garden is the fragrant honeysuckle shrub. While you may find numerous varieties to choose from, the climbing variety will add height when trained on a trellis or similar structure. Even if you opt for the more shrubby variety, this shade lover should be placed close by, where its fragrance can be better appreciated.
- Gardenia – If fragrance is what you’re after then gardenias are definitely for you, provided that you reside in a warmer climate. Gardenias thrive in light shade and moist soil. They are evergreen, which will provide year-round interest, but it’s their intensely fragrant, white flowers that really steal the show.
- Viburnum – Viburnum shrubs not only provide attractive, fragrant blooms but are also tolerant of shade. These sweet-smelling, shade-loving shrubs can make excellent understory plantings as well.
- Witch hazel – A rather large shrub but highly fragrant and exceptional for shade, is the witch hazel. This shade lover produces lovely yellow flowers in spring.
- Goat’s beard – Goat’s beard is an easy-growing shrub and makes a wonderful choice for areas of the garden with partial shade. These shrubs are especially suited to woodland gardens, opening up dark areas with their white blooms.
- Juneberry – If you want to brighten areas of light shade, consider the Juneberry shrub. This lovely shade-loving shrub is covered with masses of small white flowers in the spring followed by small reddish-purple berries later on.
- Yew shrubs – Yew shrubs can provide a pleasant background for light-colored foliage plants and flowers.
- Barberry – Perhaps not a good shrub for those having little ones, the barberry enjoys partial shade and happily thrives in a number of growing conditions. This shade-loving shrub is most noteworthy for its thorny stems and red berries but some varieties also produce spectacular yellow blooms.
- Hydrangea – Nothing speaks shade better than hydrangeas. Many species tolerate areas with light shade. Their clustered, summer-flowering blooms are spectacular, and there are many varieties in shades of pink, blue, and white. Hydrangea shrubs work well in woodland gardens, informal borders, and as specimen plantings.
- Azalea/Rhododendron – Rhododendrons and azaleas are probably some of the most popular and best loved of the shade shrubs. They not only thrive in shade but also seem to harmonize with it. These shade-loving shrubs are loved for their colorful blooms and interesting, evergreen foliage. They can be used as hedges, foundation plantings, or alone as specimen plants.
- Camellia – One of the finest choices for shady sites is the camellia. These evergreen shade lovers bloom in later winter or early spring in shades of red, pink, white, or bicolor.
- Boxwood – Boxwoods are also good choices for partially shaded sites. These evergreen shrubs make attractive backdrops for light-blooming plants.
Big Leaves, Big Impact
(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 25, 2007. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to promptly respond to new questions or comments.)
Sweet Coltsfoot (Petasites japonicus)
Sweet Coltsfoot, sometimes called Butterbur, is a very desirable large leafed plant that originated in Japan and is also found in the wild in Korea and China. It is hardy to Zone 5 (reports of Zone 3 hardiness exist) and in the spring, crowned-cluster flowers emerge before the impressive foliage. Sweet Coltsfoot does best when grown in partial to full shade with consistently moist soil. It will wilt in full sun unless excessively watered. It is an excellent shoreline plant for large ponds or bogs and can spread voraciously in the correct conditions. To control rhizome invasiveness, it can be put into the ground in a large pot.
In Japan, the leaf stalks are commonly cooked as a vegetable called Fuki. Traditional preparation involves salting and soaking in warm water prior to cooking to eradicate its potent odor. Before you start a Fuki farm, you should know that the plant is also associated with cumulative liver damage.
Giant Rhubarb (Gunnera manicata)
Giant Rhubarb, also known as Dinosaur Food, is native to the Sierra del Mar Mountains in Brazil. Its leaves commonly reach 6 feet wide and 11 feet long. Both the underside of the leaves and the stalks have thorns and the tops of the leaves have the texture of sandpaper. Giant Rhubarb is happiest in a bog setting much like its cloudy, mountainous tropical home.
Its conical, large (2 to 3 feet tall) flowers which start green, turn red and eventually brown as they mature, appear from July to August. The best time to divide Giant Rhubarb is from March to May before the plant gets too large by cutting off a corm or large root and planting in shady, bog conditions.
Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)
Regular old, vegetable grade Rhubarb, sometimes called “pie plant,” also has impressively large leaves. This plant is extremely cold hardy (Zone 3) and can suffice in climates that would not work for some of these other tropical large leafed plants.
Surprisingly, the leaves of rhubarb are poisonous, but the tart-tasting, purplish-red stalks are commonly harvested to make pies, jams and sauces. Its history can be traced back to 2700 B.C. in China, where it was used for medicinal purposes. It was spread to Europe for pharmaceutical uses and in the late 18th century, was brought to the United States by an unnamed gardener.
Bigleaf Magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla)
The Bigleaf Magnolia is a rare native U.S. tree that can be found in the South-Central and Gulf Coast regions. Its leaves can be 30 inches long, which is larger than any other U.S. native tree, and its flowers can reach over a foot, which is larger than any other native U.S. species.
The tree needs moist, shaded areas which are protected from wind, which can easily shred the large leaves. Although it is native to the southern states, it can be grown with the right conditions around the country and seems to be readily available with online retailers.
Poor Man’s Parasol (Gunnera insignis)
Poor Man’s Parasol, also called Poor Man’s Umbrella, is a close relative of Giant Rhubarb which is also in the Gunnera genus. It is native to Central and South America, growing in mountainous tropical and subtropical environments with cloudy, low light. To grow Poor Man’s Parasol at home, place it in shade or filtered sun with regular water.
The leaves of Poor Man’s Parasol can reach up to 4 to 6 feet across, which gives them their very descriptive name. The seeds are poisonous and all parts of the plant can cause adverse skin reactions.
Umbrella Plant (Darmera peltata)
The Umbrella Plant is a native of California and Oregon and, like most large leafed plants, likes moist conditions. The plant’s leaves can grow over a foot across and the plant can get to 3 to 4 feet tall. The Umbrella Plant thrives is cold moving water, much like the streams in Northern California where it originated. In order to survive in warmer climates, such as southern U.S. Zones 8 to 10, it needs full shade and lots of water.
Hardy to Zone 5, the Umbrella Plant produces pale pink, star shaped blooms on top of tall stalks that show around April, prior to its remarkable leaves. In fall, the leaves turn a striking shade of red.
Rice-Paper Tree (Tetrapanax papyrifer)
The Rice-Paper Tree is a perennial shrub native to Taiwan. The leaves can reach up to 3 feet and the plant can grow up to 20 feet in the right conditions. The plant can handle full sun with enough water but can also grow well in full shade. The plant can spread new shoots extensively through its root system. In fall, the Rice-Paper Plant blooms airy looking, white umbels on long arching stems.
Historians believe that as far back as 105 A.D., the plant was used for making rice paper during the Han Dynasty . The same process is possible today by softening the pith in water and rolling it out into paper.
Some other big-leafed plants to look up are Rodgersia tabularis (syn. Astilboides tabularis), Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), Paperplant (Fatsia japonica), and Colocasia gigantea Thailand Giant Strain’.
1. Petasites japonicus – GardenGuyKin
2. Sweet Coltsfoot Bloom – Henryr10
3. Gunnera manicata – Calif_Sue
4. Rhubarb – Rebecca101
5. Bigleaf Magnolia – Sladeofsky, Courtesy of Larry Allain
6. Poor Man’s Parasol (left)- Kell
7. Umbrella Plant – Growin
8. Rice-Paper Plant – Windy
Go larger than privet for lush planting
The best two pieces of advice I’ve ever read about designing borders came from Beth Chatto’s books – if you want success, look at the size of your leaves. If there’s nothing bigger than a privet leaf, it will look bitty.
Actually, this quote wasn’t by Beth Chatto and I’m damned if I can find it, but hey-ho and bear with me.
The second – use verticals – see my vertical planting article. Both these ideas will make your border 3D – it will jump out and grab you. The eyes will pause at these ‘full-stop’ plants before carrying on to take in the rest.
I know it takes courage to introduce big-leaved plants, but be brave. Here’s my top 10 – all herbaceous perennials, apart from the Angelica and Verbascum, which are biennial:
Gunnera and Rodgersia at Helmsley Walled Garden Bergenia cordifolia George obscured (almost) by Verbascum bombyciferum Rheum palmatum Rodgersia Acanthus Tasmanian Angel Cardoon Angelica archangelica Acanthus mollis Angelica gigas with unwanted guest Hosta Big Daddy, shield fern Globe artichoke
Rheum palmatum (ornamental rhubarb): From a brown crown, purple leaves sprout, fading to dark green. A cream flower spike 8ft tall appears by June. Plant something in front as the lower leaves get raggy as summer progresses.
Rodgersia: Green/bronze pinnate leaves grow from a spreading crown. Elegant spires of cream/pink flowers in early summer. Goes well with the ornamental rhubarb.
Gunnera manicata: Sometimes known as the giant rhubarb, it has the biggest leaves of any garden plant. It grows to 8ft tall by 13ft or more if you let it. Leaves with diameters in excess of 4ft are common. The underside of the leaf and the whole stalk have spikes on them. Obviously, not great for a small garden.
Acanthus mollis (bear’s breeches): Handsome shiny green leaves that are almost evergreen, except in bad winters. Purple and white hooded flowers, growing to approx 5ft. Tasmanian Angel has cream variegated leaves and cream/pink flowers.
Globe artichoke/cardoon (Cynara cardunculus): The pair are closely related and look much the same, with large dissected, silvery foliage, rising to large, thistle-like edible flower buds/heads about 6-7ft high.
Two forms of angelica
Angelica: Large bipinnate leaves, growing from 3-9ft, depending on variety. Most usually grown is green herb Angelica archangelica. A. gigas, the purple form, is also popular. Umbels of white/green/pink flowers in summer. Biennial, but self-seeds.
Bergenia (elephant’s ears): The shortest plant here at 1ft, but invaluable. Admiral’s large green leaves turn purple in winter, bear pink flowers in spring. The leaves fade to green in summer, forming an excellent foil for summer flowers.
Verbascum bombyciferum (giant mullein): Its silver, furry leaves form a rosette 3ft across and in its second year, a huge flower spike erupts, carrying a yellow candelabra of blooms up to 8ft.
Ferns: Shuttlecock, or ostrich fern and the shield fern are good. In spring, lance-shaped, sterile fronds are produced in regular ‘shuttlecocks’ up to 5ft tall, followed in mid- and late summer by smaller, more erect, darker, and longer-stalked fertile fronds, which persist over winter.
See 18 best large indoor plants for your home or office. Tall houseplants look fascinating and create the illusion of an enlarged interior.
Houseplants that grow above 5 feet tall quickly grabs attention. They add a dramatic touch to the interior and can serve as the focal point of your room.
Best Large Indoor Plants
1. Norfolk Island Pine
Norfolk island pine is not a true pine though looks like one. In its natural habitat, this majestic tree can grow up to several 100 feet (65 m) high. However, when grown as a houseplant, its height reduced to only 2-3 m. Growing this tall houseplant requires some care: Save it from drafts, mist the plant in summer to avoid dry air. Keep the soil slightly moist and place the plant near a window that receives some sun and bright indirect daylight to grow it successfully.
Yucca is a tough plant that can be grown both indoors and outdoors. It quickly becomes large if sufficient light is provided. When growing Yucca indoors, provide as much sun as possible and do not overwater. Allow the soil to dry out before you water again. It can survive easily for several weeks without water. A useful article you can read on growing yucca on Ourhouseplants.com.
3. Kentia palm (Howea forsteriana)
The Kentia palm is native to Lord Howe Island (Australia). It is one of the sturdiest houseplants. It is easy to maintain and often seen in offices and stores. The Kentia palm should always be in slightly moist soil in summer. In winter, reduce watering. When compared to other palms, this large houseplant can be kept in a spot that gets indirect sunlight.
The Philodendron family includes many successful houseplants. There are tall species too. For example, Tree philodendron (Philodendron selloum). Keep your philodendron houseplant in indirect sunlight, and it’ll thrive.
The plant does not need much water, but it is essential that you don’t let the soil dry out completely.
5. Polyscias (Ming Aralia)
How nice is it to have a plant in the house that is low maintenance and looks beautiful at the same time? Polyscias is such a plant. For people without green fingers, this plant is ideal. It tolerates shade, requires occasional fertilizing and infrequent watering.
6. Croton (Codiaeum)
Croton is a popular houseplant because of the huge variation in the pattern and color of the foliage available. It can get as big as 10 feet tall. Place the plant near the East facing window, where it will get bright morning sun and day-long indirect light. In a dark place, it loses the beautiful leaf markings. Also, save it from the cold draft and don’t expose it to the temperature below 50 F (10 C).
There are plants in the ficus family that can grow amazingly tall and live up to hundreds of years. The plants of this family are tough and also grown as a houseplant. As a houseplant, these plants require care. Some of the best large indoor plants of this family are rubber tree, weeping fig, and fiddle leaf fig.
8. Schefflera (Umbrella Tree)
Schefflera is a well-known houseplant with typical foliage. It is easy to maintain, though, like all the other tall houseplants in this list, it requires large pot to grow and exposure to all day long, bright indirect sunlight.
9. Fatsia Japonica (False Castor)
Fatsia Japonica is a well-known houseplant. It is also called “finger plant,” due to its finger-like leaves. This plant has beautiful foliage: Dark green, shiny, and leathery. This is an air purifying plant and needs little maintenance.
10. Adenium (Desert Rose)
You can overwinter the Adenium plant in the temperature above 50 F (10 C). Well-drained, dry soil is the key to growing a healthy Adenium tree in your home. Keep Adenium in as much sun as possible, and it will reward you with its large colorful flowers.
11. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata)
Easy to grow in pots, this pretty succulent plant requires very little care. Jade plant is a successful houseplant and can adapt itself to different light conditions. It can grow up to 10 feet (3 m) tall.
Also Read: The Most Easy to Grow Houseplants
Renowned for its beautiful arched shape, lanceolate foliage that is often variegated. The plants of the Dracaena family are undoubtedly one of the best large indoor plants.
As an indoor plant, the Dracaena needs bright indirect sunlight to grow. But exposure to 2 or 3 hours of direct morning sun per day is favorable.
Also Read: Plants that Grow without Sunlight
13. Fiddle leaf fig
Fiddle leaf fig due to its large leathery foliage and height can be a great addition to your home. Plant it in the living room, in a spot where it will receive bright indirect sunlight all day.
Also Read: How to Grow Fiddle Leaf Fig
14. Monstera deliciosa
Monstera is a popular large indoor plant because of its huge cut foliage and stems. It creates a tropical atmosphere in any room. Adding a tall, healthy monstera deliciosa can make a huge impact on the interior of any home, which is not possible with any expensive, luxurious furniture or accessory.
Indoor palms are the most common large houseplants. They are quite undemanding, and many of them grow well in exposure to part or indirect sun. They also tolerate a lack of water. Indoor palms can also grow huge, but they grow quite slowly. The most common palms are – Date palm, Washingtonia palm, fan palm or bamboo palm, and areca palm.
16. Ponytail Palm
Often mistaken for a palm, ponytail Palm is actually a succulent. Ponytail Palm is an elegant and eye-catching houseplant. It is easy to care, although slow-growing. It grows to about 10 feet tall in a few years. Learn about the best shade tolerant succulents here.
17. Bird of Paradise
Bird of paradise plant has a large banana plant like foliage. You can grow it indoors. It grows up to 7-8 ft (2 m) tall. It is called “Bird of Paradise” due to its exceptional flowers. You can grow this plant indoors successfully if you have a spot in your room that receives at least 4-5 hours of sunlight daily.
A Tip: You can also try growing Heliconias aka Lobster Claws indoors for similar appearance.
We’ve included bamboo in our list of best large indoor plants as growing bamboo indoors is possible. There are several species available that are suitable for this. If you can only provide a few hours of direct sunlight. You can check out this to find out which bamboo varieties are suitable for growing indoors.