Shade garden plants are often underestimated. Shade gardens are some of the most gorgeous gardens to see. They don’t often suffer from the same issues as full sun plants and are very whimsical cool! If you’ve got a shady bare area you are in the right place! You will learn about 10 shade perennials and you will learn how to plant a shady garden.
Top 10 Perennial Shade Plants
- Hostas (Hosta spp.) are a classic choice for shade gardens. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, so you’re sure to find one that’s perfect for your space. Hostas are known for their large, heart-shaped leaves, which can be green, blue-green, yellow, or variegated. They also produce flowers in shades of white, lavender, or pink. You can also find mini Hostas that stay small and can fit into small spaces needing a little green.
- Astilbe (Astilbe spp.) is another great choice for shade gardens. It produces airy, delicate blooms in shades of pink, white, and red. Astilbes are known for their long bloom period, which can last for several weeks. They are also pretty low-maintenance plants.
- Heucheras (Heuchera spp.) are known for their colorful foliage. They come in a variety of shades, including green, red, orange, and purple. Heucheras are also evergreen which means they hold their foliage all year long.
- Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla) is a low-maintenance perennial that produces blue flowers in spring. It’s a great choice for shady spots that don’t get a lot of foot traffic. Brunnera is also known for its attractive foliage, which is blue-green with silvery markings.
- Trillium (Trillium spp.) is a woodland wildflower that produces white, pink, or purple flowers in spring. It’s a great choice for shady spots that are near trees or shrubs. Trillium is a relatively slow-growing plant, but it will eventually form a large clump.
- Epimedium (Epimedium spp.) is a shade-loving perennial that produces flowers in shades of pink, white, and yellow. It’s a great choice for ground cover in shady spots. Epimedium is also known for its attractive foliage, which is often variegated.
- Maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp.) is a delicate fern that’s perfect for shady spots. It’s a great choice for adding texture and interest to your garden. Maidenhair ferns prefer moist, well-drained soil.
- Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are a spring-blooming perennial that produces blue flowers in clusters. They’re a great choice for shady spots that get some morning sun. Virginia bluebells are relatively short-lived plants, but they will reseed themselves and can become invasive if left unchecked.
- Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum spp.) is a shade-loving perennial that produces white or pink flowers in spring. It’s a great choice for adding height and interest to your shade garden. Solomon’s seal is also known for its attractive foliage, which is often variegated.
- Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) is a spring-blooming perennial that produces lavender or white flowers. It’s a great choice for shady spots that get some morning sun. Woodland phlox is relatively low-maintenance and will spread to form a large clump over time.
Now that you know the Top 10 Perennial shade garden plants it’s time to plant!
How to Design a Shade Garden
- Choose the right plants. Not all plants are created equal when it comes to shade. Some plants, like hostas, ferns, and astilbe, thrive in shady conditions. Others, like Panicle Hydrangeas, Phlox, Cannas, need full sun to produce abundant blooms.
- Prepare the soil. Shade gardens can have poor drainage, so it’s important to amend the soil with compost or other organic matter to improve drainage and fertility at planting. Then each year add a new layer of mulch/ compost for continuous improvement.
- Water regularly. Plants in shade don’t dry out as quickly as plants in full sun, but they still need regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather. Set up a regular schedule for watering. Your plants will thank you!
- Mulch around the plants. Mulch helps to retain moisture and suppress weeds. It also helps to protect the roots of the plants from the cold in winter. My favorite mulches to use are wood mulch or leaf mulch.
- Add some hardscaping. Hardscaping elements, such as pathways, patios, and water features, can add structure and interest to your shade garden. They can also help to define different areas of the garden and make it more functional and beautiful.
- Enjoy your shade garden! With a little care and attention, you can create a beautiful and low-maintenance shade garden that will bring you joy for years to come.
Just because you have a shady garden doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful garden full of amazing foliage and flowers. Don’t limit yourself or your gardens capabilities. Do the research and plant the shade plants!