Shade Loving Perennial Flowers

Shade Loving Perennials

Going into the wild on a hike and exploring nature is truly a rewarding experience, but not always the most efficient or practical way to enjoy the natural world. What better way to enjoy nature than to grow it right in your own yard? Let’s say however that you live in an area where there is little sunlight, no wildlife and barely enough rain. You want to grow a gorgeous garden but you fear that your garden won’t flourish in the only growing conditions that are available to you. In areas that receive very little to almost no sunlight, shade loving perennials are the perfect plants to introduce to your garden.

Shade loving perennials require very little work and will grow continuously over the years. If your garden receives less than 5 hours of sun a day then you may want to find out which plants will grow best in these types of conditions. There are three types of shade conditions that many people do not realize are ideal for several plants to thrive; light shade, partial shade and full shade.

Rethinking The Shade Garden

Light Shade

Where there may be trees or other foliage blocking 25-35% of the sun but the area receives at least 5-6 hours of sunlight a day. These conditions are ideal for growing plants that bloom to full capacity before trees and other plants have a chance to do as such. Spring plants usually grow well in conditions that may not receive full sun at a minimum of 6 hours a day. Plants such as coleus, holly fern, impatiens, holly, English ivy, ajuga, toadlily and beautyberry will do exceptionally well in these areas.

Ajuga is an excellent ground cover for light and partial shade. Ajuga has dark, low-growing foliage, from which flowers emerge each spring and early summer.
Ajuga is an excellent ground cover for light and partial shade. Ajuga has dark, low-growing foliage, from which flowers emerge each spring and early summer. | Source
Toad lilies are beautiful flowers that prefer a lightly shaded area to bloom and thrive. These flowers are a real treat to have in your garden.
Toad lilies are beautiful flowers that prefer a lightly shaded area to bloom and thrive. These flowers are a real treat to have in your garden. | Source
English Ivy grows well in the shade or the sun. This ivy can climb up walls, fences and buildings, and can become invasive if not cared for properly. Once you have established some English Ivy in your yard, it will grow almost effortlessly.
English Ivy grows well in the shade or the sun. This ivy can climb up walls, fences and buildings, and can become invasive if not cared for properly. Once you have established some English Ivy in your yard, it will grow almost effortlessly. | Source
Beauty berry is found all over the world, from Asia and Australia to Madagascar and even here in North America. It prefers light to partial shade.
Beauty berry is found all over the world, from Asia and Australia to Madagascar and even here in North America. It prefers light to partial shade. | Source

Partial Shade

Denser shaded areas that are open to the sky but trees, buildings or other obstructions may block out sunlight. Plants in these areas may receive sunlight from light that bounces off buildings or walls. Hosta, astilbe, fern, Virginia Bluebell, lilyturf, and hardy geranium can all grow well in partially shaded areas.

Hostas are leafy green plants with large smooth leaves or "ears" as they are sometimes called. Hostas prefer partial shade and plenty of water.
Hostas are leafy green plants with large smooth leaves or "ears" as they are sometimes called. Hostas prefer partial shade and plenty of water. | Source
Geraniums are hardy and easy to grow in low-light conditions. The beautiful flowers of the geranium are a wonderful addition to shady areas of your garden.
Geraniums are hardy and easy to grow in low-light conditions. The beautiful flowers of the geranium are a wonderful addition to shady areas of your garden. | Source
Virginia Bluebells are native to North America and can be found in forests and other partial shade as part of their natural environment.
Virginia Bluebells are native to North America and can be found in forests and other partial shade as part of their natural environment. | Source

Full Shade

Fully shaded areas receive absolutely no sunlight and may be blocked by densely growing plants, city buildings, and trees. These are the hardest areas to grow plants, but there are several shade-loving plants that can thrive in this area such as lily-of-the-valley, bigroot geranium, bleeding heart, and wild ginger.

Lily of the valley has some of the most beautiful and dainty white flowers of any perennial shade plant. Sure to be a show stopper, remember to water these flowers regularly.
Lily of the valley has some of the most beautiful and dainty white flowers of any perennial shade plant. Sure to be a show stopper, remember to water these flowers regularly. | Source
Bleeding hearts are amazing flowers and are a favorite amongst many gardeners for their eye-catching color and shape. These flowers prefer full shade to really take off and thrive. Keep them out of heat and direct sunglight for best results.
Bleeding hearts are amazing flowers and are a favorite amongst many gardeners for their eye-catching color and shape. These flowers prefer full shade to really take off and thrive. Keep them out of heat and direct sunglight for best results. | Source

Get to Planting!

Planting in sites that receive very little sunlight does not have to limit your gardening options. Some of the most challenging growing sites make for some of the most striking gardens.

Growing In The Shade

How much shade is in your garden?

  • Full Shade
  • Partial Shade
  • Light Shade
  • There's more than one type of shade in my yard!
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© 2015 Tyler Norwood

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1 comment

The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 7 months ago from United States

Thanks so much for this! You have give me so ideas for our partial shade area. I love the toad lily!

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