You can grow plants in shady parts of the garden, some for foliage and some for flowers. Its all about choosing the right plant for the amount of shade.
Types of Shade
- Part Shade – This generally refers to parts of the garden that get around 5 hours of sun a day and generally this is morning sun.
- Full Shade – These are plants that get less 4 hours of sun a day and generally this is filtered light.
Many shade loving plants are available from nurseries, the amount of light/sun is usually on the tag and they are all suited for different climates and different areas of the garden.
Choosing the right plant for the right position is the key to growing them successfully.
Some plants are suited for dry areas others for moist or damp areas, both are sought after for the garden.
Shaded areas close to buildings, beneath trees and large shrubs pose particular requirement for plants, some areas are dry, others may be moist.
Twenty Five Great Plants for Shade
Plants that will happily grow in shaded areas are in demand, some are better than others, and some will flower. We list twenty of the best with links to how to choose and grow this range of plants in shaded areas
- Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) – One of the showiest flowering plants for these conditiond is Dicentra spectabilis (now Lampocapros spectabilis) very attractive heart shaded flowers in spring and great very foliage.
- Epimedium – Some of the best ground cover plants for drier areas are the Epimediums. Sometimes called ‘Barrenwort’, both evergreen and deciduous varieties are available, and they not only have great foliage, colourful flowers as well.
- Corydalis – Very foliage, flowers ranging from white through to blue and red and excellent low growing plants in the garden.
- Trilliums – Unusual, a variety of forms, foliage and flowers these are spring flowering and grow well beneath deciduous trees.
- Lily of the Valley – Fragrant flowers, good green foliage and slowly spreading by undergound rhizomes, Lily of the Valley is a favourite cottage garden plant.
- Hydrangea – A small deciduous shrub that flowers well in shaded positions.
- Beesia – Interesting small ground cover plant, grown for the foliage as well as the flowers in spring/
- Hellebores – The Lenton Rose, this is one of the hardiest of all of the shade loving plants. Evergreen yet at its best when pruned back in winter so the flowers can be shown off to best effect.
- Aquilegia (Grannys Bonnets) or Columbines – Also known as Granny Bonnets, these are the Aquilegias, attractive very foliage and wonderful flowers in spring.
- Liriope muscari – Also known as Lilyturf, this is a great ornamental grass for a shaded area.
- Pachysandra – The ‘Shaded Darma’, another excellent ground cover plant for difficult areas in the garden.
- Astilbe – Also known as ‘Goatsbeard’, feather foliage with tall flower spikes rising above in whites through to pinks and reds.
- Bergenia – Elephants ears are another great ground cover plant, good textured foliage and colourful flowers.
- Hostas are also useful, they are grown for the foliage, although they do flower as well.
- Clivia – Excellent for year round foliage as well as spectacular flowers.
- Geranium macrorrhizum – For drier areas.
- Athyrium species (Japanese painted Fern)
- Polygonatum (Solomens Seal
- Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forest Grass)
- Asarum europaeum
- Gunnera Manicata – Moist positions for this large foliage plant
- Heuchera species
- Ferns in general
Poor Soil in Shade – Not a problem
One solution for dry areas beneath trees where soil is poor is to grow plants in garden pots, we have seen a wonderful collection of Hostas grown beneath a large Copper Beech tree in this manner.