19 Flowers & Plants You Can Grow in Shade

Looking to breathe life into the shaded corners of your garden? Look no further. Shade-tolerant plants and flowers offer a solution for areas with limited sunlight. Whether it’s the cool, tranquil allure of ferns or the vibrant pops of color from impatiens, these resilient beauties thrive in conditions where other plants struggle.

In this guide, we’ll examine a variety of shade-loving options for plants and flowers to help you create a lush and thriving garden sanctuary, even in the shadiest spots.

Hostas (Hosta spp.)

Hosta.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Hostas are shade-loving perennials prized for their diverse foliage, ranging from bold, solid colors to intricate variegation patterns. They thrive in full shade, although some varieties can tolerate a bit of morning sun. Hostas prefer moist, well-drained soil and can grow from a modest 12 inches to a dramatic 3 feet in height, making them versatile for ground coverage or as focal points in a shade garden.

Ferns (Polypodiopsida spp.)

Fern.
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Ferns are classic shade plants known for their lush, feathery fronds that add texture and movement to shady areas. Lady ferns and Japanese painted ferns are popular varieties, offering delicate foliage in shades of green, silver, and burgundy. Ferns prefer moist, well-drained soil and thrive in full shade. They are low-maintenance plants that can fill in large areas under trees or along shady garden paths.

Astilbe (Astilbe spp.)

Astilbe.
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Astilbe is a shade-loving perennial prized for its feathery, plume-like flowers that bloom in shades of pink, red, white, and lavender. These flowers rise above attractive, fern-like foliage, adding height and color to shady beds. Astilbe thrives in full to partial shade and requires rich, moist soil. It’s an excellent choice for adding texture and interest to shaded borders or woodland settings.

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spp.)

Bleeding heart flower.
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Bleeding hearts are charming perennials known for their unique, heart-shaped flowers that dangle from arching stems. These delicate blooms come in shades of pink, white, and red and create a romantic atmosphere in the shade garden. Bleeding hearts prefer cool, moist conditions and are perfect for shady borders or woodland settings. After flowering in spring, the foliage can die back, so pairing it with later-emerging plants like ferns can keep the area looking lush.

Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum spp.)

Solomon's Seal.
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Solomon’s seal is a versatile shade plant with arching stems adorned with hanging, bell-shaped white flowers in spring, followed by black berries in the fall. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade. Solomon’s seal adds structure and interest to shady spots and can reach heights of 1 to 3 feet. It’s an excellent choice for adding a touch of elegance to woodland gardens or shady borders.

Hellebores (Helleborus spp.)

Hellebores flowers.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Hellebores, also known as Lenten roses, are tough perennials prized for their early-blooming flowers in late winter to early spring. These flowers come in shades of white, green, pink, purple, and even near-black, adding welcome color to shady areas. Hellebores prefer partial to full shade and require rich, well-drained soil. They are evergreen in milder climates and are excellent for bringing early color to shaded areas.

Toad Lily (Tricyrtis spp.)

Toad lily flower.
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Toad lilies are shade-loving perennials prized for their unique, orchid-like flowers that bloom in late summer to fall. These flowers come in shades of purple, white, and yellow, speckled with dark spots, adding a touch of exotic beauty to the shade garden. Toad lilies prefer partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. They are excellent for adding late-season color and interest to shaded borders or woodland gardens.

Caladium (Caladium spp.)

Caladium.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Caladiums are shade-loving perennials prized for their stunning, colorful foliage, which comes in a variety of patterns and shades including pink, red, green, and white. These tropical plants prefer partial to full shade and well-drained soil. Caladiums add a bold splash of color to shady borders, containers, or even as indoor houseplants.

Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)

Coleus.
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Coleus are annuals known for their vibrant foliage, which comes in a vast array of colors, patterns, and leaf shapes. They thrive in partial to full shade and prefer moist, well-drained soil. Coleus are excellent for adding instant color to shady beds, borders, or containers, and can also be grown indoors as houseplants.

Hydrangea (Hydrangea spp.)

Hydrangea flowers.
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Hydrangeas are beloved for their large, showy flower clusters and lush foliage. Many varieties thrive in partial shade, especially in hot climates. Hydrangeas prefer moist, well-drained soil and benefit from regular watering. They add elegance to shady gardens and are perfect for borders, foundation plantings, or as focal points in the landscape.

Foxglove (Digitalis spp.)

Foxglove flowers.
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Foxgloves are biennial or short-lived perennial plants with tall spikes of tubular flowers in shades of pink, purple, white, or yellow. They prefer partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. Foxgloves add height and drama to shaded borders or woodland gardens and are attractive to pollinators like bees and hummingbirds.

Primrose (Primula spp.)

Primrose.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Primroses are early-blooming perennials with clusters of delicate flowers in shades of pink, purple, white, or yellow. They prefer partial to full shade and moist, well-drained soil. Primroses brighten up shady areas in early spring and are often used in borders, rock gardens, or along paths.

Impatiens (Impatiens spp.)

Impatiens flowers.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Impatiens are popular annuals known for their profusion of colorful flowers and ability to thrive in shady conditions. They prefer partial to full shade and well-drained soil. Impatiens are versatile plants that work well in borders, containers, or hanging baskets, providing continuous blooms throughout the summer months.

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Coral bells.
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Coral Bells are prized for their stunning foliage, which comes in a range of colors including deep purples, greens, oranges, and even variegated patterns. They produce delicate spikes of tiny bell-shaped flowers in spring and early summer. Coral Bells thrive in partial to full shade and prefer well-drained soil. These versatile perennials are excellent for adding both color and texture to shaded borders or containers.

Foamflower (Tiarella)

Foamflower.
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Foamflower is a delicate perennial that forms low-growing mounds of foliage with airy spikes of tiny white or pink flowers in spring. The leaves often feature striking patterns or variegation, adding visual interest to shady areas. Foamflower prefers moist, well-drained soil and thrives in partial to full shade. It’s perfect for edging paths or planting along the base of trees.

Lamium (Dead Nettle)

Lamium.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Lamium is a low-growing ground cover that thrives in shady areas, producing clusters of small, tubular flowers in shades of pink, purple, or white. The foliage is often variegated, with silver or white markings that brighten up dark corners. Lamium is tolerant of various soil conditions but prefers moist, well-drained soil. It spreads quickly and is an excellent choice for filling in gaps between larger plants or covering bare ground.

Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa)

Japanese forest grass.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Japanese Forest Grass is a graceful ornamental grass that thrives in shady conditions, forming cascading mounds of arching foliage in shades of green, gold, or variegated patterns. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade. Japanese Forest Grass adds texture and movement to shady borders or rock gardens and is particularly striking when planted en masse.

Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Lungwort.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Lungwort is a classic shade perennial with attractive spotted foliage and clusters of pink, blue, or white flowers in early spring. The leaves often change color throughout the season, adding to its appeal. Lungwort prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade. It’s a valuable early bloomer for shaded areas and provides nectar for early pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Bugleweed (Ajuga)

Bugleweed.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Bugleweed is a fast-spreading ground cover with glossy, bronze-purple foliage and spikes of blue, purple, or white flowers in spring. It thrives in partial to full shade and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Bugleweed is excellent for suppressing weeds and erosion on slopes or in woodland gardens and is also deer resistant.

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