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Four Top Shade Plants

Updated on April 12, 2012

The Gardeners Kitchen

A yard without shade is not an ideal to pursue, you need some shade to protect yourself from the sun’s rays; a place to cool down and watch things grow. Some gardeners are intimidated by shade and feel there is little that will grow in it.

Do not let shade get you down; your first step is to determine how much shade you are getting, is the spot you want to plant in full or partial shade? Does it get sun, in the morning or afternoon?

Once you know the extent of shade the site gets you can then pick your plants.

The following four shade plants are fairly common and all will do well with marginal care and are great choices for the beginning shade gardener. They are listed alphabetically not in any order of preference, although I am quite fond of the first one.

1. Bleeding Hearts aka, (Dicentra spectabilis,) have delightful pink and white flowers that dangle from arching stalks; they are hardier than they look.

Plant your bleeding hearts with the eyes or growing points facing up and the roots down and about one inch below soil level. Be sure to place plants about 3 feet apart. This allows room for the mature plant.

When they are planted give them a good long drink.

2. Hostas may be the best known shade plant. They seem to be everywhere there is a shady spot. There are quite of number of different hostas with various types of foliage and a garden devoted solely to this plant is easy to envision.

Hostas will flower but it is their foliage that attracts gardeners. When selecting hostas for the shade garden, remember that the ones with green or blue-green leaves are best for deep shade, and variegated varieties that combine green with yellow or white appreciate both partial sun and light shade.

3. Primroses (Primula spp.), are an excellent choice for rock or alpine gardens and will also do well near a pond. They come in a variety of colours and are one of Spring’s early bloomers. If you are looking for early colour in your shade garden then this is a wise choice.

4. Virginia Bluebells, (Mertensia virginicana), provide splashes of blue in a woodland setting. This wildflower can brighten up your shaded site. Virginia Bluebells will grow in sun but prefer slight to full shade. They will do well under deciduous trees and are striking when planted with daffodils.

These four shade garden plants will add beauty to your shaded area throughout the season.

hosta just getting started

Bob Ewing photo
Bob Ewing photo


Virginia bluebells


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