by Jennifer Poindexter
Do you have a location in your yard that fails to receive sunlight? Does it seem impossible to make anything grow there?
Would it seem like a pipe dream to plant something once and have it grow in this desolate place year after year?
We might have your solution. There are some perennials which thrive in shady locations. Here is our list of shade tolerant perennials which might be a perfect fit in your grow space:
If you ever find a location around your home that won’t grow anything, try a Hosta. They’re forgiving, adaptable, and will return year after year.
Hosta plants are great for shaded areas and can even handle wet soil. They produce large foliage which come in different shades depending upon their variety. Some Hosta plants produce dark, light green, and even cream-colored leaves.
Epimedium are frequently known as fairy wings or bishop’s cap, due to the shape of their unique blooms. They almost look like something which would grow underwater. These odd-shaped blooms will adorn your garden in early spring.
Be mindful that these perennials should be planted in beds where there will be some form of protection. They can’t handle rough surroundings, so they aren’t good for tossing out in an open area to fin for themselves.
This is another plant which produces unique flowers. The blooms on this plant are tube-shaped and will flop over the foliage of the plant.
As unique as they are, this plant also produces a nice fragrance. It provides a boost of color even when not in bloom because of its lively foliage. This plant will die off during the warm temperatures of the summer but return in the fall.
4. Indian Pink
Would you like something a little different to grow in your shade garden? The Indian pink plant could be it. This plant produces red flowers with a yellow border.
It will bloom during the summer months and is a perennial in planting zones five through nine. This unique plant isn’t only attractive to humans. Hummingbirds love it too!
Spiderwort almost looks like a wildflower and something you would have picked in the field as a child. It adores partial shade and can grow to be as tall as two feet.
If you’d like to grow a plant, that looks a little daintier in your shade garden, spiderwort might be a great choice. It certainly stands out with its bright purple blooms.
6. Toad Lily
The toad lily almost resembles a scientific fiction flower. It gets its name because the flowers are spotted like a toad.
These unique blooms will appear in your shade garden during the summer and fall. This plant blooms in white and light purple. No matter the color, passers-by are sure to take notice.
7. Lily of the Valley
While we’re talking about lilies, let’s stick with the trend. A more commonly known lily is the lily of the valley flower.
It produces dainty, bell-shaped blooms. This plant will easily spread and is frequently used as a ground cover. It’s also very potent, so keep that in mind if it will bother your sinuses.
8. Creeping Veronica
Creeping Veronica is a shade-friendly perennial plant in planting zones four through eight. In most cases, it’s used as a ground cover.
If you need a low-profile plant to cover some ground in your shade garden, this plant could be it. Creeping Veronica produces fragile blooms in any number of colors to brighten a shaded space.
It’s hard to put this fluffy perennial into words because of how unique the blooms are. They almost resemble puffy clouds on the end of long stems which come in white, red, and purple varieties.
To accomplish these blossoms, be sure to place astilbe where it receives mostly shade with a glisten of morning sun. This will help the plant bloom.
Do you want a plant that’s not only shade-tolerant and a perennial but unique as well? This could be it.
Trillium produces three-sided blooms that resemble origami. The blooms come in white and red varieties. Though this plant is unique, it’s durable and can handle moist conditions quite well.
Ligularia is also frequently called the leopard plant or the bottle rocket plant because of its blooms. It has green foliage and produces long stems which shoot out the top.
From there, they produce eye-catching blooms that resemble the colors of a leopard and have rough edges. Not only is this plant unique, but deer hate it. This makes it an excellent choice for many shaded areas.
12. Dead Nettle
If you’ve ever grown stinging nettle, you know what an easy plant it is. Dead nettle isn’t much different. It, too, is low maintenance. Dead nettle handles drought well and seems to thrive from neglect.
Don’t let the name fool you, though. It looks anything but dead. This plant has silver tinted foliage with purple, yellow, or pink blooms for an added pop of color in dark spaces.
13. Bear’s Breeches
I’m a big believer that if a space is dark and looks neglected, don’t just add color. Add something unique and off-the-wall, when possible. Bear’s breeches could be this for you.
This plant produces vertical, skinny blooms that floom out almost like a peacock. It’s a taller plant which can grow to be almost five feet in height and is a perennial in planting zones six and higher. Not to mention, pollinators love this plant. After seeing it, you’ll understand why!
Violas are considered annuals in some locations which have hot weather. If you live in an area where summers don’t become scorching hot, they can be grown as a perennial.
These gorgeous little flowers will begin blooming in spring. They must be kept in full shade because they can’t handle heat. Under the right conditions, these sweet-smelling flowers will return for years to come.
I love plants with fun names because when you view them, you can see the imagination it took to come up with the name. This perennial flower will bloom in late spring.
This is when you can see where the plant was named. It has a spike in its flower which is Jack. The hood of the flower looks like a pulpit. It might make you smile every time you pass by it because you’ll envision a little man standing in the center of a gorgeous flower.
16. Bleeding Heart
Flowers that have unique bloom shapes are fun to grow in your garden. This plant produces flowers that are heart shaped.
They bloom in early summer and produce red and pink flowers. The blooms really pop because they’re surrounded by light and dark green foliage. It’s truly a unique perennial option for a shaded grow space.
This flower reminds me of a dandelion when it has gone to seed, only prettier. The plant starts as shrub-like foliage. The oblong foliage then produces shoots.
From there, long stems submerge and produce fluffy flowers which bloom in the cool temperatures of spring and early summer. This plant could be a unique addition to your perennial garden.
When I think of shade-tolerant perennial flowers, my mind goes to foxglove almost instantly. They’re unique due to their tall stems.
At the end of the stems, they produce bell-shaped flowers that hang over. Unlike many shade-friendly plants, these perennials can handle warmer temperatures.
Caladium made this list because it’s gorgeous, but it must be stated they’re only perennial plants in planting zones nine through 11. However, if you live in these areas and have a shaded area that needs color, this could be your plant.
Caladium has heart shaped foliage that is filled with dark green and purple. Even if you don’t live in planting zones nine and higher, you can grow caladium in a container to move indoors over the winter.
20. Lenten Rose
This is another unique perennial plant that deserves some attention. It’s an evergreen plant which produces fancy, yet durable, blooms.
It actually blooms in the cooler temperatures of late winter and early spring. If you’d like a shaded garden space that blooms continually, this might make a great addition.
21. Ground Orchid
The ground orchid is another plant that needs a warm climate to be a true perennial. However, if you live in such a climate, this could be a great plant for you.
This plant blooms in early spring and produces purple, pink, and white blooms that will last for a month and half at a time. Even if you don’t live in a warmer climate, you can plant in a container to bring the ground orchid indoors over the winter months.
Lungwort is another plant commonly used as ground cover. It produces cup-shaped flowers that bloom in the coolness of spring.
The blooms aren’t the only attraction to this plant. Even the foliage is unique because of its spotted leaves.
This perennial plant might make a great selection as a border plant or to run along a fence line due to its height. It can grow to be as tall as three feet.
Some people are nervous because of its long stems, but they’re quite strong, and don’t usually require staking. What really makes this plant stand out is its dark blue and purple blooms. If you need a colorful background in your shaded grow space, look to aconitum.
24. Solomon’s Seal
This perennial is another fascinating choice for your shaded garden. It has dark green foliage and red stems.
The stems produce tube-shaped flowers which dangle from them. This happens in the spring. As the blooms finish towards fall, they’ll turn to blue-colored berries. This plant produces color, in a variety of forms, all year long.
25. Asarum Canadense
This plant is commonly known as Canadian wild ginger. It loves dark shaded areas that are also consistently moist.
If you have a dark space where you fear nothing will grow, give this plant a glance. It grows low to the ground and might be a wonderful addition to such a space.
26. Siberian Bugloss
This plant has vibrant green foliage and produces dainty, small blooms. These blooms are blue and a welcome sign of spring.
Though this plant may produce beauty in an otherwise dark space, don’t worry that it’ll be high maintenance. It’s actually the opposite and durable too.
27. Coral Bells
Coral bells receives its name from its unique blooms. This plant has curled leaves which form in mounds. Once the mounds are established, they begin producing shoots.
These shoots produce flowers during the spring and summer months. Opposite to many plants, the shadier the location the more vibrant the colors of the blooms become. If you desire a sign of life in a dark garden area, this could be a wonderful choice.
Who says shaded garden spaces must be dull? Who says you must plant something in them every year? Thanks to this list, you no longer must. Pick a few flowers that suit your taste and give them a try in your shaded grow space.