So, you want to grow a garden, but your yard lacks sunshine. If you think you can’t grow beautiful plants and flowers in a yard full of shade, think again. There are many different varieties of easy to grow shade plants that add attraction and color to the yard.
When you think of a colorful garden, you probably envision a bright, sunny location filled with colorful blossoms and striking foliage. However, many plant varieties do not like the sun and thrive best in partial to full shade. Planting these types of flowers and plants brings life to forgotten areas of the yard.
- Easy-Growing Shade Plants
- What Types of Plants are Good for Shaded Areas?
- Can I Plant Shade Plants in the Sun?
- Can I Grow Shade Plants Under a Tree?
- How Do I Plant a Shaded Garden?
- Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)
- Geranium (Pelargonium) – Easy to Grow Shade Plant with Colorful Blooms
- Astilbe (Astilbe Chinensis)
- Coral Bells (Heuchera) – Easy Growing Shade Plant with Colorful Foliage
- Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)
- Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta) – Exotic Flowering Shade Plant
- Hosta (Hosta)
- Deadnettle (Lamium) – Easy to Grow Long Blooming Shade Plant
- Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)
- Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) – Highly Fragrant, Easy to Grow Shade Plants
- Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)
- Wood Fern (Dryopteris) – Textured Shade Loving Plant
- Trillium (Trillium)
- Ground Orchid (Spathoglottis plicata) – Exotic Flowering Shade Plant that is Easy to Grow
Easy-Growing Shade Plants
It’s easy to turn a shady yard into a colorful and vibrant garden paradise once you know which plants grow easily in these growing conditions. We’ll show you how to tell which plants thrive in areas of shade and how to position them in the yard to create color and pizzazz in an otherwise dreary spot.
Don’t forget about easy shade trees and shrubs, in addition to plants that do well in areas with less light. The possibilities are endless for creating a shady oasis where you can shelter during the hottest parts of the summer.
What Types of Plants are Good for Shaded Areas?
There are many types of plants that tolerate shade, and these include both foliage and flowering plants, but it depends on the kind of shade they receive. There is a big difference between full shade and partial shade when it comes to plants.
Full shade is when an area never gets direct sunlight. Part shade is when the area receives three to four hours of sun each day, but no more than that. The difference between these types of shade is essential when choosing your plants.
Can I Plant Shade Plants in the Sun?
Some shade plants tolerate sun for short amounts of time each day, but never full sun. Full sun means that the planting area gets at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. This amount of sun damages shade-loving plants quickly, especially during the hot summer months.
Can I Grow Shade Plants Under a Tree?
Planting shade-loving plants beneath a tree creates a feeling that the tree belongs there and adds variety to the yard. While some plants struggle when grown beneath trees, others are quite happy. Hostas are an excellent choice for this area of the yard.
Plants look best beneath a tree when planted in large amounts. Try using a few different varieties of foliage plants with bright colored green leaves in varying shades. For a natural look, avoid placing circles of plants around the tree. Allow the plants to grow up against the tree’s trunk.
How Do I Plant a Shaded Garden?
The first step in planting a shade garden is to watch your yard throughout the day for sun activity in the area. Does it get any sun at all, and if so, how much?
If the area does not get direct sunlight through the day, then choose full shade plants, and if the area receives a couple of hours of daylight, choose part shade plants. If you plan on planting full and part shade plants together, consider placing taller, part-sun plants in the area that gets small amounts of sunlight.
If placed strategically, lower growing full shade plants can grow in the shade of the taller plants. Use a combination of variegated foliage plants and flowers to create balance in the garden
Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)
This garden-style plant has long, drooping stems of heart-shaped flowers that bloom in red, pink, and white colors from spring to fall. Bleeding hearts are quick to grow in the spring and fill out their space with ease.
This low maintenance perennial grows in zones 3 through 9 and enjoys shady areas of the yard. It reaches an even height and width of up to 3 feet and is deer resistant. Bleeding heart plants grow well in the garden or containers and make an excellent cut flower.
Geranium (Pelargonium) – Easy to Grow Shade Plant with Colorful Blooms
There are more than 300 species of geraniums, so it isn’t hard for gardeners to choose their favorites for the garden. You may even be able to find one of the varieties of these shade loving plants that repel mosquitoes!
These hardy flowers bloom in colors that range from blue and purple to pink and white, and they flower continuously from spring to fall, adding bright spots to any area of the garden.
Perennial geraniums grow best in zones 3 through 9 and tolerate shady areas of the yard. This low maintenance flower is deer resistant and drought tolerant. It reaches an average height of 3 feet.
Astilbe (Astilbe Chinensis)
Astilbe loves moist areas of the garden and is a multi-interest perennial. These low light flowering plants have fern-like foliage and feathery plumed blossoms that are stunning in any garden. The showy flowers are a delight not only in garden areas but as a dried flower as well.
This garden favorite grows best in zones 4 through 8, and its fragrant blooms attract birds to the yard. It is deer resistant and grows well in the garden or containers. It blooms from spring through fall and makes an excellent cut flower.
Coral Bells (Heuchera) – Easy Growing Shade Plant with Colorful Foliage
This plant has spikes of tall, bell-shaped blooms that flower in late spring to early summer. Coral bells have striking foliage colors that range from bronze to purple and create a stunning display in the shade garden with its low growing, mounding habit.
Coral bells are a perennial in zone 3 and annual everywhere else. These flowers are low-maintenance, propagate by seed or from cuttings, and enjoy moist, well-drained soil.
Enjoy coral bells beneath full shade trees or in a garden setting that doesn’t get a lot of sunshine. You will be rewarded with bright colors from the tiny flowers and the showy leaves virtually all year.
Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)
For beautiful low light plants to brighten your shade garden or bare areas underneath shady trees, you need a lungwort plant or two. This old-fashioned perennial is prized for its long-lasting flowers that bloom in early spring. They have blue, red, pink, white, and purple flowers with silver patterned foliage.
The perfect flowers for shade, lungwort thrives in zones 2 through 8 and makes a great addition to dark corners of the yard. It reaches a height up to 12 inches and spreads up to 2 feet. This low maintenance shade plant is deer resistant and drought tolerant.
Toad Lily (Tricyrtis hirta) – Exotic Flowering Shade Plant
This shade plant adds an exotic flair to the garden with its graceful, arching habits, spotted and variegated foliage, and unique flower blossoms. They bloom with purple, blue, white, pink, yellow, and blue flowers from late summer through fall, and make excellent cut flowers for the home.
This low maintenance perennial thrives in zones 4 through 9 and is deer resistant. Toad lily reaches a height of 1 to 3 feet and a width of 1 to 2 feet.
Hostas come in so many colors, shapes, and sizes that it’s easy to pick the perfect type for your yard. The leaves add appeal to shady areas of the yard from spring through fall with a summer blooming flower of purple and white.
These perennials grow to an average height of 1 foot with a spread of up to 8 feet. Hostas grow best in zones 3 through 9 and are drought tolerant. Grow them in the garden, around trees, or in containers.
Deadnettle (Lamium) – Easy to Grow Long Blooming Shade Plant
Deadnettle is a shade-loving plant that has long-blooming flowers in shades of purple, white, and pink. Its foliage color includes blue/green, gray/silver, and chartreuse/gold. The tiny, fragrant flowers bloom from spring through fall and attract birds to the yard.
This low maintenance perennial grows best in zones 4 through 8. It is an easy to grow shade plant that is deer resistant and drought tolerant and grows well in a garden atmosphere or containers. It is also useful for slope/erosion control.
Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)
Hakone grass, or Japanese forest grass, has graceful, arching mounds of grass that gradually increase in size each year. It’s a great accent to the shade garden and looks stunning placed beneath trees, along paths, or other shady areas of the yard.
This sturdy, ornamental grass thrives in zones 5 through 9 and works well as ground cover or erosion control. It is deer resistant and drought tolerant and reaches a maximum height of 3 feet with a spread up to 2 feet.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) – Highly Fragrant, Easy to Grow Shade Plants
Lily of the valley has delicate-looking white and pink flowers that look like tiny upside-down teacups. While the flowers are small, they are highly fragrant and quickly fill the garden with their heavenly scent. These spring blooms spread quickly and make an excellent choice for ground cover.
These perennial flowers grow best in zones 3 through 9 and grow well in containers or the garden. They are low maintenance and deer resistant and grow well on slopes. They reach a height and width up to 12 inches.
Begonia (Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)
Begonias come in a variety of sizes, colors, and shapes. They are an easy-to-grow annual that thrives in shady areas of the garden. This plant produces orange, white, pink, and yellow blooms from spring through fall and has uniquely colored foliage.
These shade plants reach a height up to 3 feet with a width up to 12 inches, depending on the variety. Begonias are low maintenance flowers that thrive best in zones 7 through 11 and grow well in a garden setting or containers.
Wood Fern (Dryopteris) – Textured Shade Loving Plant
Ferns are a great way to fill those empty areas in the yard that are full of shade. The delicate and textured foliage of ferns add visual appeal to the yard and creates splashes of green color. These shade-loving plants look stunning beneath trees and along walkways.
These plants are low maintenance and reach heights of 3 to 8 feet with an average spread of 5 feet. Ferns grow best in zones 3 through 8 and require plenty of water and moist, humus-rich soil.
Also known as wake-robin or wood lily, trillium has stunning three-petaled leaves that are 3 1/2 inches in diameter. These spring-time bloomers produce white flowers that develop a pink tint as they mature.
Trillium is deer resistant and drought tolerant. This plant grows best in zones 4 through 9 and ranges in height from six inches to 3 feet, with a spread of 4 to 12 inches. This shade-loving plant requires moist, humus-rich soil.
Ground Orchid (Spathoglottis plicata) – Exotic Flowering Shade Plant that is Easy to Grow
The ground orchid is a woodland beauty with its petite blossoms in shades of pink. The delicate spring blooms make excellent cut flowers for the house and look at home when grown in rock gardens.
This flowering plant is grown as a perennial and a bulb and thrives in zones 6 through 9. Ground orchids grow to a height of 1 to 3 feet tall and a width of 6 to 12 inches. It is a slow spreader that eventually forms a carpet of blue-green foliage.
You should be able to enjoy all areas of your yard, even the shady spots. While some plants may enjoy basking in the glow of the full sun, others prefer hanging out in cooler areas of shade.
Plant some hostas around the base of a tree, fill a shady rock garden with colorful groundcover, or create a garden of shade-loving bloomers. Creating shady gardens provides both you and your shade plants a place to relax on a hot summer day.
We hope you enjoyed learning how to brighten shady areas of your yard with easy to grow shade plants, and we’d love it if you’d share our easy-growing shade plants with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest.