Plants & Flowers for Your Shade Garden

The front of my house faces north. While this means that my vegetable garden is bathed in sunlight from dawn until dusk the side of my house that makes the first impression is not so blessed. The bottom part of my lawn gets plenty of sun; the good thing about having a ranch style home. The flower beds that line the foundation of the house get no real sun. Ever.

I’m trying to reclaim my flower beds but I don’t want to spend a fortune on annuals. This means I need to move some of the annuals that I already have and purchase (or swap for) new ones. Finding shade loving plants and flowers can seem like an impossible task but there are actually quite a few really attractive options.

Shade-Garden

There is a section of wall at the front of the house that has no windows and no architectural features. It’s just a wall. For that area I can use a shrub that grows fairly tall and wide. My choice is the Carolina allspice. This is a lovely shrub that has maroon to rusty brown, fruity smelling flowers that bloom in the spring.

Carolina-allspice-flower

I already have a few astilbes in various hues. My current favorite is called Jump and Jive. The vibrant color really lights up my shady flower bed.

Astilbe,-Jump-and-Jive

Another favorite that I need to replace is common foxglove. I like the variety called Dalmatian White because it nearly glows in moonlight. Another favorite foxglove is Camelot Rose. A nice thing about foxglove is it’s a reseeding biennial so, although it’s not a forever plant it does last a couple of years.

Foxglove,-Dalmation-White

 

 

 

 

Foxglove,-Camelot-Rose

 

In the flower beds I have both hostas and ferns but, honestly, I’m tired of them. And there are several coral bell plants doing quite well but I think I want to try a brighter color. The ones I have are dark in color and I want to lighten things up with Citronelle and Blackberry Ice varieties.

Coral-Bells,-Citronelle

Coral-Bells,-blackberry-ice

And I may throw in an early bloomer like Helleborus, Red Lady. For mid to late summer blooms I’ll look to spiderwort in a pretty purple like Sweet Kate.

Helleborus,-Red-Lady

Spiderwort,-Sweet-Kate

A beautiful, low growing flower that I’ll use to fill in some spots is the primrose. These pretty flowers come in a variety of colors and you can usually also buy them as a mix.

Primrose

Here is a list of plants and flowers that grow well in the shade. Be sure to check if the plants you want will grow in your zone. Remember, just because you don’t have a lot of sun doesn’t mean you can’t make your garden lovely!

Annuals
Begonia -wax begonias
Browallia
Coleus
Impatiens

Garden forget-me-not
Wishbone flower
Viola/Pansy

 

Perennials
Astilbe
Fringed bleeding heart
Common bleeding heart
Yellow foxglove
Common foxglove (reseeding biennial)
Queen-of-the-meadow
Hellebores
Daylilies
Coral bells
Hosta
Virginia bluebells
Cinnamon fern
Wild blue phlox
Creeping phlox
Solomon’s seals
Primroses
Lungworts
Allegheny foamflower

 

Groundcovers
Ajuga
Wild gingers
Heartleaf bergenia
Sedges
Lily-of-the-valley

Alpine strawberry
Sweet woodruff
Epimediums
Hakone grass
Spotted lamium
Liriope (this can be invasive in warmer climates)
Partridgeberry
Japanese pachysandra

 

Shrubs
Carolina allspice
Rose daphne
Japanese holly
Mountain laurel
Variegated Japanese kerria
Leucothoes
Mahonias and Oregon grapes
Heavenly bamboo
Cherry-laurel
Rhododendrons and azaleas
Alpine currant
Himalayan sarcococca
Japanese skimmia

 

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