Flowers and plants for the garden in the shade

How to Grow Astilbe Flowers: A Shade Gardener’s Best Friend

Flowers and plants for the garden in the shade

It took me far too long to discover the beauty and special quality of the shade garden. Since I’ve always been into those tough, hard-scrabble plants that eke out a living in any condition, the idea of a garden full of particular and at times sensitive plants was not of interest to me.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered a keen appreciation for these gardens and the plants that call them home.

Perennials heuchera and painted ferns opened up a previously unappreciated collection of foliar colors, while flashy and bright annuals torenia added lovely splashes of color.

Of all the plants in the shade garden that earned my affection and appreciation, the astilbe (A. x arendsii) comes in at the top of the list.

The foliage itself is interesting and worthwhile, but it’s the large flowers that really make them sing. As an added bonus, they seem to enjoy being placed in a wet corner of the yard – what more could we ask for in a shade perennial?

We’ve prepared a helpful and informative overview of growing, establishing, and maintaining astilbe. We’ll also take a look at some nice cultivars that you can add to your own garden. Keep on reading to delve into awesome A. x arendsii!

Hello, Nice to Meet You

If you aren’t already familiar with this lovely perennial, it’s time for some introductions:

A flowering perennial that reaches heights ranging from one to six feet, astilbe spreads via underground rhizomes.

It’s a relatively slow-growing perennial that will fill in a space that you’ve chosen for it nicely, when given enough time. For the gardener who wants to see results sooner than later, it is suggested that you purchase some container plants from a reputable seller.

Keep reading for a few of our suggestions so you can pick out a few for your garden right away.

Because it spreads via rhizome, you’ll be able to dig up and divide A. x arendsii every 2 to 4 years. I’ve worked in gardens where we dig out large clumps and are able to divide them into over a dozen plants.

The ideal time to divide astilbe is in early autumn, after they’ve finished flowering.

The foliage of astilbe can vary between cultivars, but it’s generally an emerald green in the spring with a bronze tone that becomes more pronounced as the temperatures heat up. It is a basal plant, so the foliage tends to come up from a single point of origin at the base of the plant.

In addition to adding compost to amend the soil regularly – twice a season is a good interval, in both spring and fall – astilbe benefits from springtime fertilizing as well.

These plants enjoy a fertilizer with a high phosphorus content, to encourage their blooms and root development. This springtime feeding is key to developing those great blooms and heights A. x arendsii is famous for.

A well-fed and happy clump of astilbe.

Because they’re at their best in shady areas with moist soil, these plants are prone to a few problems. But they are otherwise surprisingly resistant to pests. Powdery mildew and cercospora leaf spot can kill astilbe if left untreated.

Bacterial leaf spot is an unattractive disease that affects astilbe, but it is rarely fatal. Instead, it limits the growth of the affected plant. Most gardeners will just let it go, but copper fungicide has been shown to make a marginal dent in the spread of this disease.

Powdery mildew on a tomato leaf.

The tarnished leaf bug is another pest that is attracted to astilbe, but it is wise not a serious threat. Simply picking the bugs off and dropping them in soapy water is the preferred control method.

Providing the Right Home

Astilbe is at its best when in a slightly acidic soil that is consistently moist. This quality makes these perennials perfect for that low corner of your yard that gets a consistent flow of run-off during the summer.

They make excellent additions to a bog garden as well, where there is ample organic matter and moisture for them to gobble up.

They’ll grow their best when given plenty of water, but they don’t “wet feet.” That makes good drainage essential and also means heavily clay soils are a no-go for these plants. Too much moisture during the winter will also stress and harm the rhizomes of astilbe.

Regular additions of compost will aid in providing a fertile environment for astilbe, and also helps improve the soil quality of the garden.

By amending your soil, you can make a more hospitable home for A. x arendsii if your intended location is less than perfect. Put in the extra effort to create an ideal site with good drainage, plenty of organic material, and consistent moisture, and you’ll find your astilbe at their happiest.

A fan of dappled shade, A. x arendsii will suffer and crisp up in full sun, but also fail to reach their full flowering peak if located in deep shade.

If astilbe receives 4 to 6 hours of sun a day, it will put on its wonderful flowered show. If planted in deep shade it will still fill your garden with lovely foliage, but few flowers.

Garden Buddies

Astilbe are rather hardy in the winter. They tend to grow in US Hardiness Zones 4-8, though some cultivars are capable of holding on all the way down through Zone 3.

Springtime feeding helps to establish the roots needed to make it through the winter.

Leaving the flowers and foliage standing through the winter helps to ensure a smooth transition from winter to spring, and the flower heads can add special interest and a meal for hungry birds.

Astilbe surrounded by companion plants including leucothoe, hosta, Japanese sedge, and painted ferns.

Thriving in shady, regularly moist areas offers A. x arendsii plenty of planting companions. Hosta and iris are natural pals, along with heuchera and trillium. Impatiens and begonias are some classic shade-lovers that are paired well with astilbe.

Consider the use of moss and ferns as well. If you have a spot for A. x arendsii, it’s almost guaranteed that moss and fern will establish themselves readily.

As far woody shrubs are concerned, azalea and rhododendron go hand in hand with astilbe. They prefer the same type of light, favor slightly acidic and regularly moist soil, and have complementary bloom colors.

Varieties and Where to Buy

Many species of astilbe were cultivated by just one man in Germany. His name was George Arends, a master hybridizer who in a single year developed a stunning 74 new varieities of the plant.Each cultivar below has its own description so you can find the right plant for your yard, and a handy-dandy link that you can follow to purchase your very own.

Remember that astilbe tends to prefer well-drained and rich soils. Maintain a spacing of about eighteen inches between plants so they’ll have room to spread and fill out. Adequate spacing also helps to minimize the risk of diseases caused by poor air circulation.

Visions in Red

Talk about red. ‘Visions in Red‘ adds something just shy of firetruck red to boldly stand out from the cooler colors in the shade.

‘Visions in Red,’ available from Nature Hills Nursery

The flower plume will grow more intense in color until it reaches its peak in mid-summer, but the bronzed foliage is yours to enjoy for the rest of the season. Reaches a height of about thirty inches.

Little Visions

If you’ve got an ambition to add some pink to your garden, ‘Little Visions’ in Pink is the plant for you. Hirt’s Gardens offers live plants in quart-sized pots.

‘Little Visions’ in Pink, available on Amazon

The color falls somewhere shy of bubblegum, but because it blooms in early to mid-summer, it adds a complement to redbuds and the maturing foliage of hosta and other shade plants. Reaches a height of about sixteen inches.


A nice, deep red is complemented by the lovely display of emerald green foliage astilbe is famous for.

The ‘Fanal’ variety is acceptable in a wider growing range than is typical for this perennial, and it may thrive in Zones 3-9. Blooms in late spring to mid-summer and reaches a total height between eighteen inches and two feet.

‘Fanal’ Bare Root Starts, available on Amazon

Available from Classy Groundcovers via Amazon in packages of 10 bare root plants, note that this vendor cannot ship to Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, or Washington.

Bridal Veil

A favorite choice of mine for customers’ gardens, ‘Bridal Veil’ is about as delicate a flower as they come.

‘Bridal Veil’ Astilbe, available from Nature Hills Nursery

Lacey foliage in a deep and saturated green hue serves as the base for creamy, all-white flowers that live to surf on the breeze. Reaches a height of up to twenty-eight inches and blooms throughout the summer.

Visions in White

If you’re looking for more of a porcelain white than what the Bridal Veil offers, check out ‘Visions in White.’ The foliage is a bronze-green.

‘Visions in White’ Astilbe, available from Nature Hills

As an added bonus, ‘Visions in White’ can bloom all the way into the fall in the right conditions. Reaches a height of about thirty inches.

Delft Lace

Blue-green foliage pairs with the almost apricot flowers of ‘Delft Lace.’ The foliage is notably rougher looking than most A. x arendsii and adds interesting texture to the garden.

Live ‘Delft Lace’ Plant in Quart-Sized Pot, available on Amazon

If grown in full sun the flowers will suffer, but the foliage takes on a stronger red color. Blooms late spring to early summer and can reach two feet in height.

Peach Blossom

You know to expect warm tones and colors from a cultivar called ‘Peach Blossom.’

Live ‘Peach Blossom’ Astilbe, Quart-Size Pot, available on Amazon

The – you guessed it – peachy-pink flowers offer a bit more warmth than what’s typically seen in A. x arendsii. Expect these to bloom from early to mid-summer and reach up to two feet tall.

Showstar Seed Mix

Feeling up to a challenge? Give growing astilbe by seed a shot with the ‘Showstar’ Mix, available from True Leaf Market.

‘Showstar’ Mix Astilbe Seeds

Although quick to establish itself and spread to fill in an area, astilbe grows slowly from seed and can take a few years to blossom. Still, we’re gardeners; patience is part of the game, right?

This variety will reach a height of nearly three feet.

Onward to the Shade Garden!

Shade gardens are where it’s at when it comes to subtlety and cool color transitions.

It’s an ideal place for the gardener to spend a summer afternoon with a book and a cup of coffee or tea. Introducing the right plants and combinations can turn that little corner of the yard into a lovely outdoor room.

Although there may be sweeps of hosta and brunnera that dominate the edges, it is the addition of colorful shade-loving perennials astilbe that will make the area sing.

The colors of these flowers may tend to fall into a narrow area, but new cultivars are being developed that add some warmth and beauty to the shade.

As always, we’re eager to talk shop and answer further questions in the comments section. Drop us a line below!

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Product photos via Hirt’s Gardens, Nature Hills Nursery, True Leaf Market, and Classy Groundcovers. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.


Shade-Loving Perennial Flowers: 15 Beautiful Choices for Your Garden

Flowers and plants for the garden in the shade

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While shade may feel a limiting factor when it comes to colorful garden plants, it simply isn’t. Yes, your plant palette may not be quite as full as it is in a sunny garden, but there are scores of excellent shade-loving perennial flowers that produce bright blooms all season long.

Shade gardeners are often told they need to focus on variegated or colorful foliage plants if they really want to have a lot of color in their gardens. But, while having various textures and hues of foliage can certainly add a lot of pizzazz to a shady garden, foliage plants aren’t the only option.

Case in point: the 15 blooming shade perennials featured below.

What does “shade” really mean?

Before introducing you to the best shade-loving perennial flowers for your garden, it’s important to explain what “shade” really means when it comes to a garden.

Typically, shade conditions are divided into two categories: partial shade and full shade.

  • Partial shade flowering perennials are happiest where they’re protected from the sun during the mid-day hours when the sun is at its strongest, or else they’re planted in a spot where the sunlight is dappled, perhaps under the shelter of a small shade tree or beneath a pergola or trellis.
  • Full shade flowering perennials thrive in areas that receive no direct sunlight, even though they often do receive some sunlight, largely in the form of reflected or heavily filtered light. Full shade areas are often found under large trees or on the north side of structures.

Shade gardens can be colorful spaces, as long as you select the right plants for the job.

When choosing shade-loving perennial flowers for your garden, it’s important to note how much shade each specific plant prefers.

If a full shade flowering plant receives more light than it can handle, foliage burn, leaf curl, or wilting could be the result.

To make your decision easier, I’ve separated the 15 best blooming shade perennials on this list into two categories – those that prefer full shade and those that prefer partial shade.

Group 1: Full shade flowering perennials


Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica): This lovely flowering shade perennial grows between 1 and 2 feet in height and produces attention-grabbing elongated red flowers that open into a yellow star.

Bloom time occurs in June and lasts for several weeks. Hummingbirds are quite fond of this tough native plant that’s hardy from USDA growing zones 5 to 9. (Source for Indian pinks).

Indian pinks are a fantastic perennial for shade gardens. The red tubular flowers with yellow, star-shaped centers are a real stand-out.

2. Yellow Bleeding Heart (Corydalis lutea): If you’re looking for a blooming shade perennial that produces flowers for months, instead of weeks, this is the plant for you! Hardy in zones 5 to 7, yellow bleeding heart thrives even in dense shade.

The bluish green, 12 inch tall, ferny foliage forms neat mounds that are constantly covered with clusters of yellow, tubular flowers. No deadheading required. This is one of the longest blooming of all the shade-loving perennial flowers out there.

It self-sows in the garden, too, spreading nicely into a colony if you don’t weed out the unwanted seedlings. (Source for yellow bleeding hearts).

Corydalis lutea is a very long-blooming shade perennial that’s in flower from April through October.

3. Dwarf Chinese Astilbe (Astilbe chinensis var. pumila): Native to the high mountains of Asia and hardy in zones 4 to 8, this shade perennial flower is in bloom from mid-spring through late summer.

The purple-pink flower spikes stand 10-12 inches tall, above serrated green foliage. Dwarf Chinese astilbe makes a great flowering groundcover for the shade and is more tolerant of dry soils than most other astilbes.

(Source for dwarf Chinese astilbe).

Dwarf Chinese astilbe produce gorgeous pink-purple flower spikes that are very long lasting.

4. Fern-leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra exima): This trouble-free, North American native shade perennial has every trait you could ever want in a flowering perennial for the shade.

Its soft blue foliage isn’t bothered by pests, its growth habit is compact, and it produces pink, white, or red blooms from April straight through to fall’s first frost with no care required.

With a height of 12-18 inches and an equal spread, there are many hybrids and cultivars of this plant so there’s many to choose from! Hardy in zones 3 to 9. (Source for fern-leaf bleeding hearts).

Fern-leaf bleeding hearts have lovely blue-green foliage and pink flowers. They bloom for months on end.

5. Hardy Begonia (Begonia grandis): Yes, there is such a thing as a hardy begonia, and when it comes to shade-loving perennial flowers, it’s one worth seeking out.

Winter hardy down to zone 6, this shade perennial flower stands tall at 18-24 inches and produces clusters of pink or red flowers from summer through fall. It tolerates heavy shade quite well and will even survive under a black walnut tree where little else will grow.

There are many cultivars available, including ‘Heron’s Pirouette’ and ‘Pink Teardrop’. The large heart-shaped leaves and thick stems add interest to the shade garden, too. (Source for hardy begonia).

6. Barrenwort (Epimedium spp.): Though barrenwort is only in bloom for a week to ten days, it’s a plant worth growing because it tolerates both dense shade and very dry soil, making it a good fit for under pine trees and dense shade cover.

There are many different species that produce varying bloom colors, but all have elongated, heart-shaped leaves and spread nicely throughout the garden.

Standing around 12 inches tall and hardy from zones 5 to 9, barrenwort is a great full shade flowering perennial.

Though the flowers are small and short-lived, Epimediums are worth growing. Their leaves are semi-evergreen and great for dry shade.

7. Berry Exciting Corydalis (Corydalis anthriscifolia ‘Berry Exciting’): Similar to the yellow bleeding heart described above, ‘Berry Exciting’ also has lovely, soft, lace- foliage, but instead of being bluish green, it’s bright chartreuse.

And then to add icing to the cake of this blooming shade perennial, it’s topped with clusters of grape-purple, tubular flowers almost all summer long.

Hardy in zones 5 to 9, this plant doesn’t tolerate drought and may shift into summer dormancy if it’s grown in very hot climates.

Group 2: Partial shade flowering perennials


Mourning Widow Perennial Geranium (Geranium phaeum): Of all the hardy geraniums, this variety is the best one to include on a list of shade-loving perennial flowers because it tolerates more shade than most other species. The green leaves are splotched with a central chocolate-brown marking and the dark maroon-purple (almost black) blooms pop up above the foliage from early spring through late summer.

Winter hardy down to zone 5, mourning widow grows up to 2 feet tall and is very low maintenance.

2. Toadlily (Tricyrtis spp.): Toadlilies are among the most unique shade-loving perennial flowers. Almost orchid- in appearance, both the plant and the late-season blooms are capable of stopping the neighbors in their tracks.

There are many different varieties of toadlilies, but most have white blooms splotched with speckles of pink, rose, or burgundy. The leaves wrap around the stems, and they come in a wide range of plant heights, depending on the specific variety you choose.

Toadlilies are hardy in zones 5 to 8 and spread very nicely (but not invasively!). (Source for toadlilies).

The striking flowers of toadlilies brighten shady spots late in the season.

3. Creeping Veronica (Veronica umbrosa ‘Georgia’): Zones 4 to 8 hardy, creeping veronica is a wonderful perennial groundcover for shade. There are other cultivars of this plant, but ‘Georgia Blue’ is a personal favorite as is ‘Waterperry Blue’ (see photo below).

The bright blue flowers in late spring have a white central eye and the trailing foliage is a glossy green that turns burgundy in the autumn. If you don’t want to use it as a groundcover, it also makes a great addition to the front of a woodland perennial garden.

This shade perennial reaches just 6 inches in height.

‘Waterperry Blue’ veronica is a lovely low-growing shade perennial, just its darker-colored cousin, ‘Georgia Blue’.

4. Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla): The heart-shaped leaves of this blooming shade perennial are covered in small hairs, making them unpalatable to deer and rabbits.

Plus, the self-sowing nature of this perennial means it naturalizes into a nice colony within a few years. Clusters of tiny blue flowers smother the plants every spring.

Reaching a height of about 18 inches and hardy in zones 3 to 8, Siberian bugloss is a must for any shade garden. (Source for bugloss).

5. Leopard plant (Ligularia spp.) : Probably the most striking of all the shade-loving perennial flowers, this bold and beautiful plant is tough to miss. Depending on the species, tall spikes or clusters of bright yellow flowers shoot out above the heart-shaped or serrated leaves in mid-summer.

Reaching an imposing height of up to 4 feet, Ligularia tolerates wet soils but wilts readily if allowed to dry out. Hardy in zones 4 to 8, you can’t beat this big, bold shade perennial’s flowers. There are several different varieties, including spiky ‘The Rocket’ and red-leaved ‘Brit Marie Crawford.

’ (Source for leopard plant).

Ligularia is a striking perennial for shade gardens. The flowers can be spikes or daisy-, depending on the species.

6. Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus mollis): Another big shade perennial with bold flowers and foliage, bear’s breeches is an absolute knock-out.

The long, serrated leaves and thorn-covered stems are imposing, but the tall spikes of hooded flowers make it all worth it. The bumblebees adore this plant, and with a height of 3 to 5 feet, it requires a large growing space.

Hardy down to zone 6, these shade-loving perennial flowers will not be easily forgotten. (Source for bear’s breeches).

The bold, tall flower spikes of bears breeches stand tall above the garden, whether it’s in sun or shade.

7. Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum): Another excellent shade perennial groundcover or for the front of the border, the low, medium green leaves of this beauty are covered in canary yellow, daisy- blooms in the early spring.

A fast spreader (but not invasive) that forms a dense mat, this North American native plant is a must for any shade garden with a lot of ground to cover. Topping out at just 6 inches tall, the plants are hardy in zones 5 to 9. (Source for Chrysogonum).

Green and Gold is a lovely small perennial for the shade. It make a great ground cover and blooms in the spring.

8. Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum): Though the main flowering show of this shade perennial is in the early spring, if you cut the plants back hard soon after flowering a second flush of foliage and flowers quickly pops up the ground.

A word of warning about this one, though: it readily self-sows, sometimes to the point of becoming obnoxious, so I don’t recommend it for small gardens or places that aren’t regularly weeded.

The yellow, cup-shaped flowers are borne in clusters above the foot-tall foliage and the plant is hardy from zones 4 to 9. (Source for celandine poppy).

Celandine poppies prolifically bloom in the shade, but be forewarned that they throw a lot of seeds.

As you can see, there are many colorful choices of shade-loving perennial flowers available for your garden. We hope you’ll give some of them a try and bring a touch of brilliance to your shady landscape areas.

Oh, and if their beauty isn’t enough, all of the plants mentioned here are also deer resistant.

 (And here’s another post on more deer-resistant plants for your garden, if you want even more to choose from.)

For more information on perennial gardening, check out the following posts:

Do you garden in the shade? Tell us about some of your favorite shade perennials in the comment section below.

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16 Colorful Shade Garden Pots & Plant Lists

Flowers and plants for the garden in the shade

Create beautiful shade garden pots with easy shade loving plants & flowers. 16 colorful mixed container plant lists & great design ideas for shade gardens!

Most of us have some kind of shady spots around our homes and gardens. A few garden pots filled with lush and colorful plantings can really brighten up these shade area and add splashes of happiness.

There are many beautiful and easy to care for plants that thrive in the shade. Some have striking and showy foliage, some have beautiful and fragrant flowers.

If you have a sunny garden, try these:24 colorful container garden plantings for sunny areas.

24 colorful container garden plantings for sunny locations.

Let’s look at 16 gorgeous shade garden pots. I made a plant list for each one of them so you can take them and go shopping!

1. Shade pots with beautiful mixed foliage

Recipe 1: Start from top right – Coleus ‘Sedona’, Heuchera ‘Spellbound’, ‘Gartenmeister’ Fuchsia, Oxalis ‘Iron Cross’, Golden Feverfew, Fuchsia ‘Autumnale’, Setcreasea pallida ‘Purple Heart’, Lobelia ‘Techno Blue ’ ( Source: 1 )

Before we start, I want to share a super cool trick! Even if you don’t have a yard, you can check out how to grow lots of these shade loving plants indoors in glass bottles and water!

Easiest way to grow beautiful plants indoors in glass bottles and water!

2. Tropical planter shade garden ideas

Recipe 2: Zantedeschia aethiopica / Calla Liliy, Alocasia lutea, Caladium ‘Sweetheart’, Adiantum tenerum / Maidenhair Fern ( Source: 2 )

3. Lush green shade garden pots filled with patterns and textures

Recipe 3: Caladium ‘White Christmas’, Adiantum tenerum / Maidenhair Fern ( Source: 3 )

4. Ferns and flowers for shade gardens

Recipe 4: Begonia Mocca Yellow, Impatiens walleriana ‘Musica Pure White’, Adiantum tenerum / Maidenhair Fern ( Source: 4 )

5. Tropical and exotic colorful container garden ideas for shade

The classic garden planter formula: thriller – filler – spiller is a great way to create layers in container gardens.

Recipe 5: Colocasia esculenta / Diamond Head, Purple Huechera, Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’, Hedera helix ‘Variegata’ / Variegated English Ivy ( Source: 5 )

6. Beautiful shade loving flowers

Recipe 6:  Diffenbachia / Leopard Lily, Caladium, Adiantum tenerum / Maidenhair Fern, Begonia “Angel Wing” ( Source: 6 )

7. Evergreen shade plants

This beautiful patio planter is designed with all evergreen shade loving plants.

Recipe 7: Aspidistra elatior / Cast-iron plant, Nephrolepis exaltata / Boston fern, Hedera helix ‘Variegata’ / Variegated English Ivy ( Source: 7 )

8. Showy shade planter design ideas

Choose a variety of foliage plants with different sizes, colors, and textures to create an artfully mixed planter!

Recipe 8: Nephrolepis exaltata / Boston fern, Begonia ‘Silver Angel’, White Impatiens, , Hedera helix ‘Variegata’ / Variegated English Ivy ( Source: 8 )

9. Shade garden ideas with mixed color foliage container plants

Recipe 9: Actaea racemosa, Caryopteris ‘White Surprise’, Cimicifuga atropurpurea, Hosta ‘Brenda’s Beauty ‘, Heuchera ‘Cinnabar Silver’ or similar ( Source:, no longer active)

10. Easy foliage plants for shade garden designs

Recipe 10: Coleus mixed varieties, White Impatiens, Margarita Sweet Potato Vine ( Source: 10 )

11. Colorful shade garden ideas

Recipe 11:  Diffenbachia / Leopard Lily, Hypoestes phyllostachya / Polka Dot plant, Tradescantia pallida / Wandering Jew plant, Lobelia ‘Techno Blue ’, Begonia “Red Dragon Wing” ( Source: 11 )

12. Colorful foliage shade loving plants

Recipe 12:  Coleus mixed varieties ( Source: 12 )

Coleus comes in so many beautiful colors and patterns! Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to easily propagate and care for Coleus!

How to easily propagate and care for Coleus!

The next few shade garden pots are planted with single variety plantings. You can always add some trailing plants to create more layers, but sometimes less is more, don’t you think?


Flowers and plants for the garden in the shade

Flowers and plants for the garden in the shade

Only owners of new cottages located in the open field can boast of absolutely sunny areas. If your house is in a forest or you have many fruit trees, your garden is ly to suffer from lack of sun. But this is not an excuse to give up flowers. Just need to be able to select suitable plants for a shady garden.

Watching what a shadow

First of all, appreciate what kind of shadow is there, where you are going to plant plants.

Very few, mostly ornamental, plants will grow in full shade (for example, from the northern side of a tall house or in the dense shadow of trees).

For the western or eastern side of the buildings (where the sun is only half a day) or under the empty crown of fruit trees, the choice of plants is already much greater.


Among perennials lovers of shadow and penumbra are most. You can create a whole multi-tiered flower bed from plants with a height of 10 cm to 1 m and above.

Badan suffers a fairly dense shadow. True, in such conditions it grows great, but it does not bloom very richly. Prefers a rather humid soil.

Aconite can grow and successfully bloom even with a minimum of sun. But since it is rather hygrophilous, it is better not to plant it directly by subtrees.

Modern varieties of the daylily are best planted in a sunny place, but the natural species (for example, the early-morning yellow lily and the late-blossoming redhead) are perfectly reconciled with penumbra. However, in the dense shade, their bloom is greatly weakened or even stopped altogether.

Hosta is the real queen of the shadow!

Can grow even with very strong shading, but only on wet soil. However, if you grow variegated species (with yellow or white stripes on the leaves), it is better not to plant them in full shade, since without the sun the pattern will be less contrasting.

Astilba – Another popular shade-tolerant and hygrophilous plant. But all the same, the more sunlight you provide, the more abundant will be the flowering.

Kupen is an amazing plant for shady and semi-shady places! It is absolutely unpretentious, splendidly growing, does not require any garter, despite its almost meter height, and is the best decoration of a shady garden.

See also: Design, layout and design of a small area

All kinds of centers perfectly feel themselves in the penumbra and even in the shade. The main thing is that the place is not dry.

In the full shade of luxurious flowering, aquilegia should not be expected, but the wet penumbra is the optimal place for it.

Brunner – this plant with wide leaves and nezabudki- flowers can grow almost anywhere, including almost complete shade. The plant is absolutely unpretentious and grows very quickly, turning into a weed.

Gentle May “chamomile” cotswold will delight you in the shade of fruit trees. In the spring, when the daisy blooms, the leaves of the trees are not yet fully opened, and therefore the shadow is sparse.

The low-billed creeping bells prefer a sunny location, while the medium- and taller species tolerate even a fairly dense penumbra.

And yellow European bathing-house, and the orange Siberian (it's also frying) is great for a shady garden. The first is more shade-tolerant than the second, and requires more moisture.

Lily of the valley – a classic forest plant, grows great and blossoms even in full shade. An excellent “soil cover” option for a site where there are many trees and therefore the grass grows badly.

Lupine – a beautiful, albeit somewhat banal, plant for semi-shaded places It's not worth it to plant it in the shade.

Since the bloom of the Eastern hellebore falls on the early spring, it can be planted under the trees (their leaves blossom much later).

Virtually all types of primulas (including auricles) very well feel in the penumbra. As in the case of the hellebore, because of early flowering, it is better to place them in the tree trunks. Often you can meet the opinion that primulas do not damage a dense shadow (for example, from buildings). Yes, they will grow here, of course, but you can not count on the abundant flowering.

Cyanosis This is a very unpretentious plant with a honey aroma, perfectly feels in the shade and penumbra. It is strange that it is grown relatively rarely.

Violet fragrant can grow beautifully and bloom even in the shade, but remember that the main form, with blue flowers, very quickly turns into a weed. But the belvettsovaya behaves much more nobly.

Liver – A pretty spring-flowering plant from the forest. but because it can also be safely planted in the shade.

Periwinkle – a wonderful ground-cover plant with shiny leaves and blue flowers. Under the trees, where the lawn grows poorly, it will create a whole carpet.

Absolutely any ferns are the best option for even the most shady garden. A mandatory condition is a large amount of moisture.


Most of the popular representatives of this group do not feel well with the lack of sun. But there are exceptions.

Almost all early-ripening small-mouthed, such as snowdrops, crocuses, hionodox, sparse, spring belotsvetnik and many others, perfectly feel themselves under the trees. In April – early May, trees (especially fruit trees) still practically do not create a shadow, and by the time the leaves appear, the small-bellied ones already have time to flower.

With daffodils, the same story as with melkolukovichnymi. In addition, un tulips, in which from lack of sun, the peduncles turn out to be thin and easily lie down from the wind and rain, daffodils do not change even in the shadow of their vertical position.


See also: Plants and flowers for difficult corners of the garden – shade, marshy, dry and infertile plots

Pansies – a wonderful decoration of shady places. Especially when sowing at different times you can achieve their flowering from April to October.

Forget-me-not with its delicate flowers perfectly feels even in a dense shadow. Sow it once and with the help of self-seeding new plants will appear annually.

One of the relatively few tall shadow lovers is the fox. It is especially good in the background of the flower garden.


Among annuals, shadow lovers are not that many. Here are some of them.

In the full shade of abundant flowering from balsam should not be expected, but a dense penumbra to this plant fits perfectly.

Another potential inhabitant of the semi-shaded garden is tobacco fragrant. It is not only beautiful, but also really fragrant, if you choose the appropriate variety.

A little-known miniature plant with spotted flowers – mimulus – will suit for the first plan on a shady flowerbed.

Begonia eternally flowering – a beautiful curb plant for a shady garden. It is better to buy ready-made seedlings.

On a note:

  • Bearded irises bear only a light penumbra, but Siberian feel great and with a minimum amount of sun. An obligatory condition, as for many other shade-loving plants, is a sufficient amount of moisture in the soil.
  • Tuber begonia – a plant with large double flowers – will create a bright color spot in a shady garden.
  • From daisies you can create an excellent curb in the shade. In addition, these plants actively give samosev and settle in your garden for a long time.
  • Unobtrusive marigold flowers will bloom anywhere. Of course, the more sunny the place, the more flowers, but also the penumbra of them will be quite appropriate.

What to plant where it is dark and damp

Sites with a deficit of light and moisture are found in every garden.

Typically, these are some areas on the north side of buildings and fences or places under the canopy of trees, whose roots consume large amounts of water, and foliage interferes with the penetration of sunlight.

Plants here should be planted unpretentious, plastic, easily adaptable to complex conditions: shade-tolerant and drought-resistant.


One of the few tonic plants valued for the beauty of flowering. Graceful yellow, white and pink flowers in branched hands appear in May and immediately attract attention with their unusual structure.

The heaters are drought-resistant, they prefer semi-shaded and shady places. Decorative remains throughout the year due to attractive, textural, wintering foliage, however, for a short period of 5 – 1 days during budding, they lose some of their attractiveness due to the change of leaves. In gardens, they are used as soil cover plants for shady places.


Friable thickets of this long-stemmed perennial are found under the canopy of trees in the forest. Shady areas are an indispensable condition for its cultivation. As for the water regime, the lily of the valley is unpretentious: it transfers both excess and lack of moisture.

Due to the fact that the size of the plant strongly depends on the conditions of growth, in shady and dry places where it grows smaller, it is better to plant simple species, rather than expensive large-flowered cultivars.

The latter, in conditions of lack of moisture, will quickly lose such valuable qualities of the variety.


This is one of the most drought-resistant shade-tolerant perennials. Even in a particularly dry summer, it grows well without watering. In a short time this plant forms openwork rugs from lanceolate leaves collected in whorls. And in May it is covered with small white flowers, similar to miniature bells.

Large Crown Geranium

In the flower gardens with it you need to be more attentive, it quickly conquers a square. But as a groundcover culture – a great option. This unpretentious plant, may well tolerate a lack of moisture.

In the penumbra, the geranium large-corn root neodetooylno bloom, thanks to its long branching rhizome is able to grow well and form a lush green carpet. One of the virtues of this species is a pleasant thick aroma, which is sure to be appreciated by lovers of fragrant plants.


Ideal plant for dry and shady places. In addition, that pachisander is undemanding to care, it is stably decorative throughout the year due to wintering shiny, dense, leathery dark green leaves.

This perennial grows rapidly with the help of a long rhizome and forms a beautiful, dense cover up to 35 cm tall under the canopy of trees. Perfectly resistant to weeds.

It's good to use monoculture.

© A.Ivanov

Vegetables for growing in the shade

On the sunny plot of the garden do not have enough space? Some vegetables can give a good harvest in the shade!

In the fence, in the shade of a house or a bath, and also under the canopy of trees, many vegetable plants may well grow.



Very good grows in the shade. Forms a large bush that grows rapidly – its rhizomes give offspring. The leaves grow large, the petioles are juicy. The main thing is to provide regular watering to the bushes.


This is a real inhabitant of the shadow. It can be planted on the most shaded area, and there horse-radish will form juicy leaves and root crops, suitable for various types of salting.


Also grows well in the shade – here it forms larger, delicate and juicy leaves.

Perennial bows

Perennial bows in early spring will enrich your meals with vitamins. And they will take a little place – where other vegetables will not grow.


In the wild, it grows under the canopy of the forest, so it can grow beautifully under fruit trees or in the shade of the fence in the garden.

Schnitt-onion and onion slug

Their greens in the shade will become even more juicy. Shnitt-onion in the shade grows well, it blooms for a long time.

Annual Plants

Salad and green crops

Leaf and cabbage salads, spinach, arugula, leaf mustard, watercress, chard grow well in areas located in partial shade and even shade. Here they will not give a record harvest, but juicy leaves can be cut for a long time – in the shade they will remain fresh for a long time and will not be bitter.


If you plant it in the penumbra, the harvest will be small, and the teeth will be smaller, but they will grow delicious and fragrant.


Cilantro, celery, parsley, oregano, mint, melissa, thyme, tarragon and lovage-all these herbs can perfectly grow in the through shade of trees or in the shade of buildings and will be just as tasty and fragrant.

red beet

Even in the shade, it can give a good harvest. Often, huge beet root crops cause inconvenience to housewives. And in the shade will grow root crops of medium size, juicy and tender.

Beans and clustered beans

Among them there are shade-tolerant varieties, you just need to choose them correctly. It is very convenient to plant them under the crown of a tree – and the tree will be of use, and the bean will yield a decent crop.

© 3. Smagina St. Petersburg

E. Chernysheva, famous florist-collector.


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