6 Easy Plants To Grow In Shade Gardens

By Tammy Sons | July 29, 2017
by Tammy Sons
July 29, 2017

Browse a list of popular plants, and you’ will see a full assortment of flowers, herbs, and vegetables that thrive in full sun, from lavender to poppies to tomatoes. It’s easy to neglect shade-loving varieties when you’re planning a garden, but they have so much to offer to the landscape in terms of both aesthetics and ease of care.


There are two different types of mosses used in landscaping. The first, called Acrocarpous moss, is tightly packed and ideal for areas with invasive weeds or where you want to replace traditional grasses. These varieties spread slower than their cousins, Pleurocarpous mosses, which move quickly along the ground and can regenerate from small pieces. Pleurocarpous varieties are often used in rock gardens. Mosses are perfect for landscaping and very forgiving, thriving in almost every type of soil except for sand. When placing these shade-loving plants in a landscape, establish the companion plantings first, adding the moss only after the foundation is well laid.

Virginia Blue Bells

Blue bells are not only charming but are also a versatile bloom, thriving in both full and partial shade. Virginia blue bells are native to the midwestern and eastern United States, but they do well in most home gardens. Because they like consistent moisture, it’s best to plant blue bells under trees or other shaded areas. These beauties will blossom and spread throughout springtime and taper off with full summer heat. They can be direct seeded, though it’s a slow process, or planted as bulbs or seedlings. Once established, these perennials will return to delight you every spring.






Another perennial beauty, trilliums are hearty wildflowers with a distinctive tri-petaled charm. They come in a wide variety of colors, including white, red, purple and gold blossoms from over 40 species. They are best planted as seedlings or rhizome cuttings as the trillium seed is slow to germinate, taking two years or more to establish. Trilliums prefer rich soil that is kept evenly moist but will thrive once established without any additional care or attention.

May Apple Plants

The May apple, or Podophyllum, is a shade lover that is ideal for ground cover. Their umbrella-like leaf canopy accents other shade plants nicely, making May apples perfect for pairing with blossoming species in a designed landscape. They bloom themselves but only for a few weeks in mid to late spring though the foliage provides many more months of enjoyment before fading in late summer. May apple plants can handle drier conditions and spread to the point of invasiveness if you’re not careful. Their ripe fruits are edible but cause indigestion for some gardeners, so proceed with caution if you decide to give them a taste.

Columbine Flowers

With such a delicate and beautiful aesthetic, it is surprising just how hearty columbine flowers are. Though partial shade with well-drained soil is recommended, they can survive in quite harsh conditions and are resistant to drought. These perennial darlings attract hummingbirds and are often used in cottage gardens with herbs and other wildflowers. Columbine flowers will reseed themselves liberally, but the perennial bulb will fade faster if you allow them to go to seed.

Lily of the Valley Plants

The delicate, dancing, dropping blossoms of the Lily of the Valley spell spring to many gardeners. They do well in both outside beds and in containers but prefer well-amended soil with good drainage in all planting situations. Lily of the Valley plants thrives in partial shade that is kept consistently moist. However, they adapt comfortably to a variety of different settings and are very forgiving when care is less than ideal. Plant bulbs in the late fall for a spectacular spring display.

Your lawn and garden have a variety of growing conditions as you move from area to area. Shade gardens offer a great foundation for your landscape, providing wide spaces with plantings that are both pleasing and easy to maintain, making them ideal additions to any garden plan states Dennis, a perennial shipper from Garden Delights Nursery.






The above article was sponsored by Garden Delights Nursery. The information contained in this article may contain ads or advertorial opinions.
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  • Diana Mafnas
    Comment added May 8, 2020Reply

    Great information! All beautiful choices. Now, which will I choose?

  • George Koulomzin
    Comment added January 17, 2020Reply

    With shade, the questions always are: "how much"? "when"?
    You don't need to guess any more!
    A new app in the Google Play Store tells you exactly how much sun or shade any place will get.
    Try it out. Share with your friends! Give feedback!
    click here: SASHA
    Have Fun!.

  • Emily
    Comment added August 19, 2017Reply

    I didn't know any of these plants, thank you for sharing. Another plant ideal for wet gardens, is the Grecian Rose. It is typical of Chile, is obtained in any nursery and grows very well in areas with excessive shade.

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