Many shade loving plants are available for different areas of the garden. Choosing the right plant for the right type of shade is the key to growing them successfully. Some plants are suited for dry shade 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 shade 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 shade is Dicentra spectabilis (now Lampocapros spectabilis) very attractive heart shaded flowers in spring and great very foliage.
- Epimedium – Some of the best cover plants for shade 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 shade 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 shaded 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 great shade loving plants, 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 – Dry Shade
- Athyrium species (Japanese painted Fern)
- Polygonatum (Solomens Seal
- Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forest Grass)
- Asarum europaeum
- Gunnera Manicata – Moist Shade for this large foliage plant
- Heuchera species
- Plectranthus argentatus
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.