Top 6 Shade Loving Perennials

An excellent time to plant a shade garden is in the autumn when the soil is cool and moist. Fall is rapidly approaching and it is time to plan your lovely shade garden for beautiful blooms next spring and summer. When planting your shade garden, it is important to have your plants in 4 to 6 weeks before the first heavy frost. If you think there are few shady perennials with color, then you’ve come to the right place! Here are 6 colorful shade perennials that are sure to liven up any shade garden.

Bearded Iris

Most Bearded Iris prefers sun, but certain varieties do better in partial shade. They are generally hardy and long lived and come in a variety of colors. Iris does well in many types of soil as long as it is well drained. They bloom in the spring, between April and June. If you select your Bearded Iris carefully, you should not be afraid to try these flowers in your shade garden.

Silver Beacon Lamium

This low growing shade plant can be used as a ground cover that prefers consistently moist, well drained soil. Lamium has lovely lavender to pink flowers that bloom from mid-spring to early summer. The silvery white leaves are outlined in green and provide a pretty canvas for their flowers.

Globeflower (Trollius)

Trollius made this perennial shade garden list because it actually prefers heavy, wet clay soils. If you struggle with the soil in your location, this shade loving flower might be a good option for you. It sports bright yellow flowers between June and August and will be sure to brighten a shady corner of your garden.


Hostas are one of the most common shade loving plants, and for good reason! There are over 70 species of Hosta and hundreds of different varieties. During the summer, these shade plants sprout 1′ to 2′ spikes of flowers. You might think all hostas are plain, green plants but I encourage you to tour any nursery that has a wide selection of Hostas. With a little research, you can find a variety of more colorful hostas to grace your shade garden.

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

One of my favorite shade loving plants is the Heuchera. Like the Hosta, Coral Bells come in over 50 different species. They are most known for the beautiful color of their variegated leaves which range from purple to silvery green to bronze. They have delicate flowers of green or red and sometimes ivory. The shape and color of this shade lover provide a colorful contrast to the green leaves of many other shade perennials.


Another classic shade perennial is the Astilbe. This traditional shade loving plant is one of the easiest perennials to grow. The Astilbe is an airy looking flower with feathery plumes that rise on talk stalks about fern like foliage. They bloom in your shade garden from late spring to summer. They come in colors ranging from white to pink to red and make a nice contrast to other plants in your shade garden, such as the Hosta.

Final Thought Shade Loving Perennials

If you have an area in your yard, deeply shaded by trees, do not despair. You have a wide variety of choices of flowering perennials that live in the shade quite happily. Always make sure your garden has 2-3 inches of mulch. This will ensure your garden remains moist and help to keep your shady nook weed free. Also, note that gardens shaded by trees (as opposed to buildings) generally require more water because they are competing with the water needs of the trees surrounding them. Visit your nursery and select healthy plants, plant them about 6 weeks prior to the first heavy frost and keep your shade loving perennials mulched and well watered. If you do this, you will be rewarded with a colorful and fragrant garden that thrives in the shade.

Theresa Lien
Theresa Lien
A professional writer who has specialized in houseplants and indoor gardening. She's had experience with outdoor landscaping too, having written about plants that grow well on balconies and patios as one of her previous articles for Wohomen.


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