Tall trees are great for keeping the house and yard cool, but they may block too much sun for many plants in the garden. Brighten up the shade with some color.
Shade Lovin’ Annuals
Begonias are great flowers for the shade. Wax begonias form beautiful, but simple flowers in red, white, or pink with auburn or green foliage. Tuberous begonias have a more complex flower that blooms in white, pink, green and orange with green foliage.
NEW FOR 2020, Beacon Impatiens are an exciting new annual. This downy mildew resistant type offers the same mounding habit and flower count as the popular impatiens.
Caladiums have large heart-shaped foliage that appear to float in the garden. Admired for their beautiful variegation, caladiums typically are found in shades of red, pink, white and green.
Coleus, beloved for their foliage, are available in a vast array of colors and textures. From purple and green to auburn and gold variegation, coleus are great for adding color to shade.
Other great annual options include: Torenia, Streptocarpus, Fuschia and Elephant Ears.
Astilbe is a very beautiful perennial with feathery plumes of white, pink, lavender, or red flowers that rise above finely divided foliage. This garden thriller blooms from spring to late summer.
Dicentra is also known as Bleeding Heart for its heart-shaped dark pink and white flowers that bloom along horizontal stems. This perennial attracts birds and butterflies.
Hellebores will brighten the garden with their late winter blooms. The colorful flowers bloom in late winter and early spring, and are evergreen.
Heucheras, or coral bells, are magnets for hummingbirds. They bloom in a variety of vibrant colors that accent your garden. With wand-like stems, their flowers are bell-shaped, but it’s their foliage that attracts the eye.
Hostas are the most popular perennials for the shade and come in so many varieties. They’re highly recognized for their beautiful variegated or solid green foliage, and work well in borders or mixed with other plants.
Other great shade perennials are: Anemone, Astrantia, Bergenia, Brunnera, Cimicifuga, Corydalis, Lobelia, Ferns, Heucherella, Lamium, and Tiarella.
The Foundation in the Shade
Dogwoods are shrubs with elegant flowers and beautiful green foliage lined with white. They can be planted in groups, with other plants and trees, or as a specimen plant.
Evergreen Euonymus has many colorful varieties and all grow well in the shade. Most varieties involve gold or white variegation on green foliage.
Japanese Maples trees are a great foliage accent to the garden with their unique texture and color. Choose from a dwarf or semi-dwarf Japanese maple for a beautiful focal point for your shade garden.
Rhododendrons are great flowering shrubs for shade to partial shade areas. The lush clusters of flowers last 3 to 4 weeks in spring and bloom in shades of pink, red, lavender, white, salmon and purple.
Other great shrubs for the shade include: Boxwood, Hemlocks, Hydrangeas, Redbud, Serviceberry, Summersweet, Sweetspire and Yews.
Garden Tips for the Shade
- Consider the changing seasons: The season can affect how much shade is in your garden. In the early spring, a garden with shade trees can sustain sun-loving bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils before the trees leaf out fully.
- Amending the soil: Poor soil often is the issue for plants not thriving. Add the proper organic material when preparing for a new garden. For soil amendment recipes, click here.
- Planting around tree roots: Be aware of tree roots because excessive digging can damage them.
- Watering in the shade: Water only when needed. Your shade plants may not need to be watered as frequently as the plants in the sun. Learn more about proper watering here.
- Add some mulch: Mulching will keep your workload light. It retains soil moisture and minimizes weeds. For mulch suggestions, click here.