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Hot new perennials and plants for shade

Updated on January 17, 2016
Patsybell profile image

I inherited my love of gardening from mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

Look for these new Coleus, Begonia, and Heuchera

Good soil is the key to garden success

Before sowing seed or planting, amend poor soils with compost or other organic matter. Consider replacing soil mix in your favorite containers. Take care of the soil and the soil will take care of your plants.

Most shade-loving plants, including herbs and perennials, are woodland dwellers. They prefer a consistently moist (but not soggy), humus-rich soil.

5 New Spring Coleus Releases

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ruffles Bordeaux - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioideMariposa™ - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioidesRuffles Copper - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioidesFishnet Stockings - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioidMariposa™ - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
Ruffles Bordeaux - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioide
Ruffles Bordeaux - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioide | Source
Mariposa™ - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
Mariposa™ - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides | Source
Ruffles Copper - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
Ruffles Copper - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides | Source
Fishnet Stockings - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioid
Fishnet Stockings - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioid | Source
Mariposa™ - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
Mariposa™ - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides | Source

Best new coleus for shade

Part shade to shade

Many coleus are suitable for sun. If your gardens require shade, consider these coleus.

  1. Ruffles Bordeaux - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioide
  2. Mariposa™ - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
  3. Ruffles Copper - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides
  4. Fishnet Stockings - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioid
  5. ColorBlaze® 'Sedona' - Coleus - Solenostemon scutellarioides

Keep trimming coleus plants to make them bushier and sturdier. Cutting back coleus gives it a neat and uniform shape.

Save the cuttings for making new coleus plant. Simply put the cuttings in water. Remove any leaves that are in the water.

Once the cuttings have rooted, plant the cuttings. Take care to keep the newly planted cuttings well watered until established.

Did you know: Coleus - It's a rare plant that you are encouraged pinch off the flowers when they appear. The little blue spiky flowers are unremarkable and detract from the beautiful foliage. Regular pinching keeps the plant compact and bushy.

Pick Coral Bells - Heuchera for color

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Dolce® 'Blackberry Ice' - Coral Bells - Heuchera hybrid. Purple black with silver netted foliage.Heuchera 'Vienna' loaded with springtime cream colored coral bells.Heuchera 'Vienna' color has changed by summertime.
Dolce® 'Blackberry Ice' - Coral Bells - Heuchera hybrid. Purple black with silver netted foliage.
Dolce® 'Blackberry Ice' - Coral Bells - Heuchera hybrid. Purple black with silver netted foliage. | Source
Heuchera 'Vienna' loaded with springtime cream colored coral bells.
Heuchera 'Vienna' loaded with springtime cream colored coral bells. | Source
Heuchera 'Vienna' color has changed by summertime.
Heuchera 'Vienna' color has changed by summertime. | Source

Heuchera - Coral Bells

Other names for Heuchera are Alum Root, Coral Bells, Rock Geranium. Heuchera - Coral Bells are grown for their foliage these days.

However, the tiny spiky flowers are very attractive to hummingbirds, so let them bloom. A benefit of all the new Heuchera varieties is that the little flowers are showing up in a variety of colors.

The mounding heuchera plants grow best in open woodland settings. They tolerate morning sun, if growing in well-drained soil that doesn't hold too much moisture.

To keep them from dying out in the center, Heuchera plants can be divided every 3-4 years. Propagate hybrid Heucheras by division. It is the only method that will produce plants true to the parent.

In winter, Heuchera plants can heave out of the soil. Mulching prevents the freezing and thawing that heaves the plants up.

Did you know: Heuchera has been crossed with its cousin Tiarella to produce another nice shade plant called heucherella.

Heuchera (Coral Bells) for color

Dolce® 'Blackberry Ice' - Coral Bells - Heuchera hybrid - Purple black with silver netted foliage. This heuchera lived the first year as a container plant. It thrived in that shady location.

The next spring, I planted it in the ground in the same location. I like this Dolce® 'Blackberry Ice' heuchera because, it is a bright, season-long color accent.

How to plant Dolce Key Lime Pie Heuchera

Begonia foliage for part shade to shade

Mountain View combo - Pegasus™ Begonia and Infinity® Electric Coral New Guinea Impatiens
Mountain View combo - Pegasus™ Begonia and Infinity® Electric Coral New Guinea Impatiens | Source

Leafy new Pegasus begonia

Flowers are not missed with such attractive foliage like Pegasus begonia.
Flowers are not missed with such attractive foliage like Pegasus begonia. | Source

Grow Pegasus™ Begonias for foliage

Most begonias are grown for their continuous blooms in shady gardens. Pegasus™ begonias are grown for their fabulous foliage. (Pictured above.)

Pegasus™ begonia hybrid has thick and deep green, glossy leaves. This showy shade lover draws attention with a silver overlay on each leaf. Growing 12-18" tall, is colorful enough to fill a container single handedly.

Illumination® Apricot Shades - Tuberous Begonia

Click thumbnail to view full-size
NEW Illumination® Apricot Shades - Tuberous Begonia.  Part Shade to Shade On Top® Sunset Shades - Tuberous Begonia What color would you call this begonia? Upright, large yellow flowers edged in orange.  Part Shade to Shade  On Top® Pink Halo - Tuberous Begonia Each white petal is outlined in a bright pink.   Part Shade to Shade.
NEW Illumination® Apricot Shades - Tuberous Begonia.  Part Shade to Shade
NEW Illumination® Apricot Shades - Tuberous Begonia. Part Shade to Shade | Source
On Top® Sunset Shades - Tuberous Begonia What color would you call this begonia? Upright, large yellow flowers edged in orange.  Part Shade to Shade
On Top® Sunset Shades - Tuberous Begonia What color would you call this begonia? Upright, large yellow flowers edged in orange. Part Shade to Shade | Source
On Top® Pink Halo - Tuberous Begonia Each white petal is outlined in a bright pink.   Part Shade to Shade.
On Top® Pink Halo - Tuberous Begonia Each white petal is outlined in a bright pink. Part Shade to Shade. | Source

Begonias for shade

It may take awhile to learn where begonias will like to live and even thrive in your yard. Matching plant descriptions to your plant conditions may be your first challenge.

Illumination® series - Tuberous Begonia, Shade to part shade. Cascading habit. Also white, Golden Picotee and scarlet.

On Top® series - a fabulous begonia, each white petal outlined in pink. Complex coloring with more color choices online and at garden centers. Colors Sunset Shades, pink, salmon, yellow, orange. Trailing habit. See all colors at Proven Winners. Part shade to shade.

Dragon Wing® Red - Angelwing Begonia - Begonia hybrid - Vigorous, heat tolerant with continuous flowering all summer. Great plant to fill open shady spaces.

Dragon Wing® Red - Angelwing Begoniaalso thrived in a full sun mail box planting. Also in pink. May surprise you how heat and sun tolerant a begonia care be.

Did you know: Begonia - The name Begonia, comes from Charles Plumier, a French patron of botany, and adopted by Linnaeus in 1753. The name honors Michel Bégon, once governor of the French colony, San Domingo.

Also see: Dragon Wing™ Red Begonia was a trial plant from Ball Horticulture some time ago.

Look for these new begonia introductions

 
 
 
Variety
bloom color
outstanding feature
Illumination® Apricot Shades
orange
trailing
On Top® Pink Halo
white with pink edging
trails up to 24 Inches
Surefire® Rose
pink
bronze foliage
 
 
 
In my Southeast Missouri location, begonias get morning sun and shade the remainder of the day. These begonias, and many more are labeled simply for shade.

Mojito mint herb

This Cuban mint must have root growth restrained to keep it from taking over. All mints have aggressive root systems. Part shade.
This Cuban mint must have root growth restrained to keep it from taking over. All mints have aggressive root systems. Part shade. | Source

Lemon balm herb

Cut Lemon Balm back and it will regrow fuller than ever. I usually cut it down to the ground 2 or 3 times every summer. Part shade.
Cut Lemon Balm back and it will regrow fuller than ever. I usually cut it down to the ground 2 or 3 times every summer. Part shade. | Source

5 Herbs that tolerate shade

Most herbs require full sun. These five herbs will tolerate shady conditions. The only way to know if they will adapt to your shady garden is to try. Begin with one or two starter plants in the spring.

Observation will allow you to discover what is best for your conditions. For example, if the lemon balm does well, take cuttings to make more plants.

  1. Lemon balm is one of the best herbs for dappled light. If plants get leggy or unruly, simply cut it back. It will quickly rejuvenate growing back twice as thick.
  2. Parsley may grow in areas that receive a couple of hours of direct sun daily.
  3. Chervil is a cool season annual. It may do quite well in the spring before trees completely shade the area. Plant again in fall.
  4. Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) is excellent for shade to full shade, Often grown as a ground cover. Propagating through self seeding and an aggressive root system, it become a dense mat growing 8-10 inches tall.
  5. Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) can only be grown in a shade garden, making an attractive ground cover.Wild Ginger is not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber official), even though the rhizomes of this plant produce a scent that is reminiscent of real.

"Wild ginger makes an excellent addition to a shade garden. Growing it from seed is not practical, but a large colony of the plant will have a large mass of underground rhizomes." - USDA Forest Service

Your perennial favorite

What is your favorite shade-loving plant variety?

See results

© 2015 Patsy Bell Hobson

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Begonias are much easier to grow these days. They just keep getting better, don't they? Here's to the colorful shady spots in your garden. Thank you for reading my hubs. I would love to see your begonias this summer.

  • poetryman6969 profile image

    poetryman6969 

    3 years ago

    Begonias are my next plant project. I think they are beautiful.

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    MsDora, Thanks for reading my hub. Since the mint family will take part sun part shade, don't limit your self to just one kind. For example I grow lemon balm, Mojito mint (from Cuba), peppermint, lemon mint, lime mint and chocolate mint. (Chocolate mint, by the way, does not taste or smell like chocolate.)

    I love hearing that you are getting more interested in herb growing. Please ask me, if you have any questions at all. Blessings.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    3 years ago from The Caribbean

    Patsy, I'm becoming more involved with gardening. This section on herbs that tolerate shade is very interesting (of course, the entire article is). Thanks!

  • Patsybell profile imageAUTHOR

    Patsy Bell Hobson 

    3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Thanks and thank you for your kind words. Begonias are getting easier and better every year. I can occasionally over winter a begonia in the garage here in my SE Missouri gardens. Do you water begonias every day in Houston?

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    3 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I voted for the begonias as being my favorite from your offerings but so many plants add color and texture to the shady gardens. Impatiens are another good plant for more shady areas. Loved your photos! Up votes and will share, pin to my Gardening section and also tweet.

  • Faith Reaper profile image

    Faith Reaper 

    3 years ago from southern USA

    Beautiful and useful hub here. I love begonias, especially, but all of these here you have highlighted are beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing of these beauties that do well in shade.

    Up++++ tweeting and pinning

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