All About Landscape Press Digital

Plants That Love Shade At Their Best

Oct 3

There are dark areas in many gardens where plants that like the light would struggle to flourish. The good news is that many plants can tolerate being in the shadow, if not like it.

Recognizing the kind of shade you have is essential since there are several variations. Plants that spend the majority of the day in the shade are referred to as having a light shadow; those that spend part of the day in the sun are referred to as having partial shade; and those that have a blotchy shade created by the sun filtering through vegetation above are referred to as having dappled shade. Additionally, the soil in your shadowed area might be dry or wet. The plants you are able to grow will be influenced by all of these factors.

Remember that too many dark greens may make a darkened space look dull when choosing shade plants. Instead, use them to provide background texture and structure before adding soft, pastel colors to make the room come to life. White, cream, light yellow, lilac, light mauve, and pastel pink are the best hues. Use variegated plants for a punch of cream, yellow, and white.

We've produced a list of the best plants for providing shade.


Stinking iris, Or Iris Foetidissima

Stinking iris grows well in complete shade, especially under trees. In the spring, it blooms in a drab purple-green color and has lovely evergreen leaves, but it truly shines in the autumn when its enormous seedpods break open to reveal rows of orange-red seeds that remain on the plant throughout the winter. The prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society has been given to it (AGM).

Wood Spurge, Euphorbia Amygdaloides Var. Robbiae

One of the most beautiful spurge varieties is Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae. There are other spurge varieties as well. Starting in late April, it displays lime-green flowers on top of dark green leaves. It looks excellent beneath trees and along the edges of forests and is perfect for dry shade. If not treated, it might develop into an invasive condition. The prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society has been given to it (AGM).


Nival Galanthus (Snowdrop)

The snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, blooms at the end of winter, poking through the frozen ground and blooming for weeks before the daffodils show up. It thrives in dense, wet soils and complete shade. The prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society has been given to it (AGM).


The Winter Aconites, Eranthis Hyemalis

Late January and February is when aconites bloom, creating masses of vibrant yellow blossoms. They are perfect for a shaded border or woodland garden since they thrive well in wet shade. The prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society has been given to it (AGM).

Bellflower, Campanula

Bellflowers are available in a variety of hues and forms, and the most of them like to grow in the shade. Campanula lactiflora (pictured) blooms in magnificent clusters of purple-blue bell-shaped flowers from summer through autumn over heart-shaped green leaves. It is perfect for growing close to the rear of a border and complements traditional or cottage garden planting schemes beautifully. Like other bellflowers, it has blooming that attract bees and other pollinators.

Purple Digitalis (Foxglove)

Our native foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, is a woodland plant that grows well in dappled or partial shade. There are various unique cultivars and varieties with a wide range of flower colors and shapes. Although most plants like some shade, others need more sunshine to develop.

Granny's Bonnet With Aquilegia

Aquilegias are a charming, traditional shrub for the cottage garden that produces blossoms in the form of a bonnet and does well in some shade. On a little mound of waxy grey-green leaves, the miniature columbine Aquilegia flabellata (pictured) produces blue nodding flowers. The prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society has been given to it (AGM).

Spectacular Lamprocapnos (Bleeding Heart)

Bleeding heart, Lamprocapnos spectabilis (Dicentra), has pinkish-red, heart-shaped blossoms with white tips that drop from arching flower stalks in late spring to early summer. It looks fantastic in clusters among shrubs and grows well in soft, wet shade. The prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society has been given to it (AGM).

Lungwort, Pulmonaria

The term "lungwort," or pulmonaria, refers to the plant's speckled leaves, which are said to resemble lungs. Different cultivars feature distinctive leaf patterns, which are best seen in the middle of spring when the plant begins to put on new growth after blooming. They work particularly well as groundcover plants in shady places. Flowers with funnel shapes bloom in a range of hues, including blue, violet, pink, purple, red, and white.

Siberian Bugloss, Brunnera Macrophylla

For shady situations, the Brunnera macrophylla is a great option. Its mid-green, heart-shaped leaf and the forget-me-not-like blooms that appear on long stalks make it the perfect choice for edging walks and blending with other shade tolerant plants, particularly in forest borders.


Mr. and Mrs., One kind of arum Lords-and-Ladies is arum maculatum. Native forest perennial Arum maculatum thrives underneath trees and other vegetation that wick moisture from the ground. In the spring, it blooms, and in the autumn, it produces dense clusters of dark red berries.

Geraniums That Resemble A Cranesbill

There are many different hues and kinds of cranesbill geraniums, and many of them thrive well in the shade. Geranium phaem, also known as dusky cranesbill, is a shade-tolerant plant that quickly creates a thick weed-repelling matt of deeply lobed, deep-green leaves with distinctive purple blotches around the center. From this mat, tall stems bearing tiny, nodding purple flowers with yellow centers bloom from late spring to early summer.


A staple of winter cottage gardens, hellebores grow well in dry shade and produce enormous clusters of saucer-shaped flowers in white, pink, green, mauve, or smoky purple. Helleborus 'Garden Red' has solitary red flowers (seen).

The perennial plant Astrantia, also known as Masterwort Astrantias, thrives in the shade or in a moist border. Although they may withstand drier circumstances if adequately mulched, they prefer moist soils. The large, cherry-red flowers of the Astrantia major 'Gill Richardson' cultivar are seen here.

Ivy, Hedera Helix

The ideal shade-loving climber is Hedera helix, sometimes known as English ivy. It may be used to cover shady walls and may be taught to climb up or spread out along a low wall. Ivy's evergreen nature makes it perfect for covering pergola supports or creating a rich background for clematis and climbing roses.