37 Beautiful Shade Perennials To Plant In Your Shaded Garden

If you have a shaded garden, you might think your plant choices are limited. However, there are many beautiful perennials that thrive in low-light conditions. Let’s explore 37 of the best perennials for shade so you can transform your shaded garden into a vibrant outdoor space.

A perennial garden in the shade.YayImages

Best Perennials for Shade

Here are 37 of the best shade-loving perennials that are perfect for planting in shaded gardens:

1. Astilbe

Astilbe perennial flowers growing in a garden in the shade.YayImages

Astilbe is a standout perennial with its feathery plumes of flowers that come in shades of pink, red, white, and purple.

These perennials thrive in moist, well-drained soil and prefer partial to full shade. 

Astilbes are perfect for adding a touch of elegance to your garden borders or woodland garden.

To keep your Astilbe blooming beautifully, make sure to water it regularly, especially during dry spells.

These plants also benefit from a layer of mulch to retain soil moisture and suppress weeds.

2. Hellebore

Closeup image of Hellebore perennials, perfect for growing with tulipsYayImages

Hellebores, also known as Lenten Roses, bloom in late winter to early spring, bringing a much-needed splash of color when little else is in bloom.

Their flowers, which come in hues ranging from white to deep purple, are often marked with intricate patterns.

Plant these perennials in rich, well-drained soil with partial shade, and they will reward you with stunning blossoms year after year.

Hellebores are also deer-resistant and can tolerate drought once established, making them a resilient choice for your shaded garden.

3. Japanese Painted Fern

Close up of Japanese painted fern plant growing in a shaded garden.YayImages

The Japanese Painted Fern brings a touch of elegance with its striking silver and burgundy fronds.

These low-maintenance perennials prefer consistently moist soil and partial to full shade.

Japanese Painted Ferns are ideal for adding texture and color to shaded borders and woodland gardens.

To keep them looking their best, ensure they receive regular watering and occasional feeding with a balanced fertilizer.

These ferns also pair beautifully with other shade-loving plants like Hostas and Coral Bells.

4. Hostas

Top view of hosta foliage.YayImages

Hostas are a classic choice of perennials for shade gardens, known for their lush foliage in various shades of green, blue, and variegated patterns.

They thrive in rich, well-drained soil and require regular watering, particularly during dry spells.

Hostas are incredibly versatile and come in numerous sizes, from small, compact varieties perfect for borders to large, dramatic types that can create a focal point in your garden.

To enhance their appearance, consider using a mulch layer to retain moisture and keep the roots cool.

5. Lungwort

Vivid and bright pulmonaria flowers on green leaves background close up.YayImages

Lungwort, with its spotted leaves and charming blue, pink, or white flowers, is a delightful addition to any shady spot.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Lungworts not only add visual interest with their unique foliage but also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.

These shade perennials are also resistant to deer and rabbits, making them a practical and attractive choice for your garden.

Regular watering and mulching will help maintain their vibrant appearance throughout the growing season.

6. Bleeding Heart

Bleeding heart perennial flowers growing in a garden.YayImages

Bleeding Hearts are beloved for their heart-shaped pink or white flowers that dangle delicately from arching stems.

They thrive in cool, moist, and well-drained soil with partial shade.

Bleeding Hearts bring a touch of romance to any shaded garden area, particularly in spring when they are in full bloom.

To keep them healthy, provide regular watering and protect them from the heat of the midday sun.

After blooming, their foliage may die back, so consider planting them alongside other shade-loving perennials that will take over and maintain interest in your garden.

7. Epimedium

Closeup of green epimedium koreanum herbs and plants growing on stems in lush home garden. Group of vibrant leaves on stalks blooming in backyard. Passionate about horticulture and flora agriculture.YayImages

Epimedium, or Barrenwort, is an excellent ground cover for shady areas, with its delicate flowers and attractive foliage.

It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Epimediums are drought-tolerant once established, making them a practical choice for low-maintenance gardens.

Their heart-shaped leaves often take on beautiful hues of red or bronze in the fall, adding seasonal interest.

These perennials also have a unique resilience to pests and diseases, making them a reliable and long-lasting addition to your garden.

8. Maidenhair Fern

Shade loving maidenhair fern growing outdoors in a shaded garden.YayImages

The Maidenhair Fern’s delicate, fan-shaped fronds add a touch of grace to shaded areas.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering and high humidity are essential for keeping this fern looking its best.

Maidenhair Ferns are perfect for adding a soft, airy texture to your garden, and they pair beautifully with other ferns and shade-loving perennials.

To maintain their lush appearance, avoid placing them in areas with dry air or direct sunlight.

With the right care, Maidenhair Ferns can also be kept as low-light indoor plants.

9. Columbine

A single columbine flower growing in a garden.YayImages

Columbine’s unique, spurred flowers in various colors make it a standout in any garden.

It prefers well-drained soil and partial shade.

Columbine attracts hummingbirds and bees, adding both beauty and wildlife interest to your garden.

These perennials bloom in late spring to early summer and can self-seed, creating a naturalized look in your garden over time.

To encourage healthy growth, provide regular watering and remove spent flowers to promote continuous blooming.

10. Dead-nettle

Purple dead nettle plant growing in a garden.YayImages

Dead-nettle is a resilient ground cover with silver-patterned leaves and pink, white, or purple flowers.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This low-maintenance plant spreads quickly, filling in shady spots with ease and providing a beautiful carpet of color and texture.

Dead-nettle is also deer-resistant and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions, making it an ideal choice for trouble spots in your garden.

Regular watering and occasional trimming will help keep it looking neat and tidy.

11. Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Heuchera, or coral bells, a perennial plant in full bloom grown in a botanic garden.YayImages

Coral Bells are known for their vibrant foliage in shades of red, purple, and green, along with delicate flower spikes.

They prefer well-drained soil and partial shade. Regular watering and occasional fertilizing keep these perennials thriving and colorful.

Coral Bells are perfect for adding a pop of color to shady borders, containers, or woodland gardens.

They also attract pollinators and are resistant to deer and rabbits.

For best results, divide the plants every few years to maintain their vigor and prevent overcrowding.

12. Primrose

Alpine hill with small stones and delicate white primrose flowers. Wild alpine primrose is flowering between the stones.YayImages

Primroses offer bright, cheerful flowers in early spring, making them a perfect addition to shady areas.

They prefer moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering and a cool environment help primroses flourish.

These perennials are available in a wide range of colors and are excellent for adding early-season interest to your garden.

To keep them healthy, avoid letting the soil dry out completely and provide a layer of mulch to retain moisture.

13. Toad Lily

Toad lily plants with purple spotted blooms.YayImages

Toad Lilies bloom in late summer to fall, showcasing orchid-like flowers that add a touch of exotic beauty to shaded gardens.

They thrive in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering keeps them healthy and blooming.

Toad Lilies are perfect for adding interest to the late-season garden when many other plants have finished blooming.

Their unique flowers attract pollinators and can be a conversation starter in your garden.

To keep them looking their best, provide consistent moisture and protect them from harsh afternoon sun.

14. Barrenwort

Bright green and red leaves growing in a garden. Closeup of barrenwort, fairy wings or persian epimedium from the berberidaceae species of flowering plants blooming and blossoming in nature in spring.YayImages

Barrenwort, also known as Fairy Wings, features delicate flowers and heart-shaped leaves.

It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This perennial is perfect for adding a whimsical touch to shady spots.

Barrenwort is also drought-tolerant once established, making it a practical choice for low-maintenance gardens.

Its foliage often takes on beautiful hues of red or bronze in the fall, adding seasonal interest.

To keep it thriving, ensure it receives regular watering during dry periods and apply a layer of mulch to retain soil moisture.

15. Woodland Phlox

Blue woodland phlox in a rock garden.YayImages

Woodland Phlox produces clusters of fragrant, star-shaped flowers in shades of blue, pink, and white.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This shade-loving perennial attracts pollinators and adds a sweet fragrance to your garden.

Woodland Phlox blooms in spring, creating a carpet of color that is perfect for woodland gardens and shaded borders.

To keep it healthy, provide regular watering and deadhead spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming.

16. Virginia Bluebells

Virginia bluebells blooming in a perennial gardenYayImages

Virginia Bluebells are a spring favorite, with their bell-shaped, blue flowers that create a carpet of color.

These perennials thrive in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Once established, they require minimal care, making them a low-maintenance option.

Virginia Bluebells are perfect for naturalizing wooded areas and can be planted alongside other spring-blooming perennials for a stunning display.

To encourage healthy growth, ensure they receive regular watering during dry periods and protect them from harsh sunlight.

17. Bigroot Geranium

Wild bigroot geranium growing a garden.YayImages

Bigroot Geranium is a hardy perennial with lovely pink or purple flowers and aromatic foliage.

It prefers well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This plant is drought-tolerant and perfect for adding color and texture to shaded areas.

Bigroot Geraniums bloom in late spring to early summer and can form a dense ground cover, suppressing weeds and adding beauty to your garden.

To maintain their vigor, provide regular watering during dry spells and trim back after flowering to encourage new growth.

18. Corydalis

Little purple corydalis flowers growing in a shade garden.YayImages

Corydalis offers delicate, tubular flowers in shades of yellow, blue, or purple.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This perennial adds a charming touch to your garden.

Corydalis blooms in spring and can continue flowering sporadically throughout the growing season.

It is also deer-resistant and can tolerate a range of soil conditions.

To keep it healthy, provide regular watering and a layer of mulch to retain moisture.

19. Foamflower

Close up image of pink tiarella sky rocket flowersYayImages

Foamflower features frothy, white flowers that bloom in spring, along with attractive, heart-shaped leaves.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering keeps this plant lush and vibrant.

Foamflowers are excellent for adding a soft, airy texture to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or as ground cover.

They also attract pollinators and are resistant to deer.

To keep them looking their best, ensure they receive consistent moisture and protect them from harsh sunlight.

20. Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley plant with white blooms in a garden.YayImages

Lily of the Valley is known for its fragrant, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in spring.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This perennial is perfect for adding a touch of elegance and fragrance to shaded areas.

Lily of the Valley spreads easily, creating a dense ground cover that can fill in troublesome spots.

To maintain its health, provide regular watering and divide the plants every few years to prevent overcrowding.

21. Anemone

Forest during springtime, close up image of windflowers (Anemone nemorosa).YayImages

Anemones, also known as Windflowers, produce charming, daisy-like flowers in various colors.

They prefer well-drained soil and partial shade.

Regular watering and occasional feeding keep these perennials thriving.

Anemones are perfect for adding a burst of color to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or naturalized areas.

They bloom in late summer to fall, extending the season of interest in your garden.

To encourage healthy growth, provide consistent moisture and protect them from harsh afternoon sun.

22. Astrantia

Astrantia plant growing in a garden.YayImages

Astrantia, or Masterwort, features unique, pincushion-like flowers surrounded by a ruff of bracts.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering keeps this plant looking its best.

Astrantia blooms in early summer and can continue flowering for several weeks.

It is perfect for adding a touch of whimsy and elegance to shaded borders or woodland gardens.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and mulch to retain soil moisture.

23. Tradescantia Spiderwort

Tradescantia Spiderwort with purple flowers blooming in a garden.YayImages

Tradescantia, also known as Spiderwort, produces clusters of small, three-petaled flowers in shades of blue, purple, or white.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering keeps this plant lush and vibrant.

Tradescantia blooms in late spring to early summer and can continue flowering sporadically throughout the growing season.

It is also deer-resistant and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions.

To keep it healthy, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

24. Jacob’s Ladder

Jacobs ladder plant with purple flowers blooming in a garden.YayImages

Jacob’s Ladder features delicate, fern-like foliage and clusters of blue, purple, or white flowers.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering and mulching keep this plant thriving.

Jacob’s Ladder blooms in late spring to early summer and adds a touch of elegance to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or naturalized areas.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

25. Ajuga

Blooming blue Ajuga or bugleweeds growing in a meadow.YayImages

Ajuga, or Bugleweed, is a fast-spreading ground cover with attractive foliage and spikes of blue, purple, or white flowers.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This low-maintenance plant is perfect for filling in shady spots and suppressing weeds.

Ajuga blooms in late spring to early summer and can create a carpet of color and texture in your garden.

To keep it looking neat and healthy, provide regular watering and occasional trimming.

26. Brunnera

Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla), close up of the flower headYayImages

Brunnera, also known as Siberian Bugloss, features clusters of tiny, blue flowers.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering keeps this plant lush and vibrant.

Brunnera blooms in spring and adds a touch of elegance to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or as ground cover.

Its attractive foliage also provides interest throughout the growing season.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

27. Wild Ginger

Wild ginger groundcover growing across a garden floor.YayImages

Wild Ginger is a low-growing perennial with glossy, heart-shaped leaves and small, hidden flowers.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This plant is perfect for adding a lush, green carpet to shaded areas.

Wild Ginger is also deer-resistant and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions.

To keep it healthy, provide regular watering and a layer of mulch to retain soil moisture.

28. Japanese Forest Grass

Japanese forest grass growing in a shaded garden.YayImages

Japanese Forest Grass, or Hakonechloa, features graceful, arching foliage in shades of green, gold, or variegated patterns.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering keeps this plant looking its best.

Japanese Forest Grass is perfect for adding texture and movement to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or as a ground cover.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

29. Solomon’s Seal

Solomons seal plant with yellow blooms covered in rain droplets.YayImages

Solomon’s Seal features arching stems with dangling, bell-shaped flowers and attractive foliage.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering and mulching keep this plant thriving.

Solomon’s Seal blooms in spring and adds a touch of elegance to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or naturalized areas.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

30. Sweet Woodruff

Sweet Woodruff with white flowers growing in the shade of a garden.YayImages

Sweet Woodruff is a charming ground cover with fragrant, white flowers and delicate foliage.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This low-maintenance plant is perfect for adding a lush, green carpet to shaded areas.

Sweet Woodruff blooms in late spring to early summer and can create a carpet of color and texture in your garden.

To keep it healthy, provide regular watering and occasional trimming.

31. Toadshade Trillium

Closeup image of Little Sweet Betsy (Trillium cuneatum). Called Large toadshade, Purple toadshade.YayImages

Toadshade Trillium, also known as Toadshade, features unique, three-petaled flowers and attractive foliage.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering keeps this plant looking its best.

Toadshade Trillium blooms in spring and adds a touch of whimsy and elegance to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or naturalized areas.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

32. Mayapple

Mayapple ground cover growing across a garden floor.YayImages

Mayapple features large, umbrella-like leaves and white, cup-shaped flowers.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

This plant is perfect for adding texture to shaded areas.

Mayapple spreads easily, creating a dense ground cover that can fill in troublesome spots.

To maintain its health, provide regular watering and a layer of mulch to retain soil moisture.

33. Celandine Poppy

Celandine Poppy with yellow flowers growing in a garden.YayImages

Celandine Poppy, or Wood Poppy, features bright yellow flowers and attractive foliage.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering and occasional feeding keep this plant thriving.

Celandine Poppy blooms in spring and adds a burst of color to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or naturalized areas.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

34. Leopard Plant

Beautiful Farfugium Japonicum leopard plants in the garden under the sun in Spring.YayImages

Leopard Plant, or Farfugium, features large, glossy leaves and bright yellow flowers.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering and occasional feeding keep this plant looking its best.

Leopard Plant is perfect for adding bold foliage and color to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or as a focal point.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

35. Rodgersia

Rodgersia plant with green and red leaves growing in a garden.YayImages

Rodgersia features large, bold leaves and fluffy, pink or white flower spikes.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering keeps this plant lush and vibrant.

Rodgersia is perfect for adding a dramatic touch to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or as a focal point.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and mulch to retain soil moisture.

36. Monkshood

Monkshood or purple aconitum blossoms in a shaded forest. YayImages

Monkshood, also known as Aconitum, features tall spikes of blue, purple, or white flowers.

It thrives in moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering and occasional feeding keep this plant looking its best.

Monkshood blooms in late summer to fall, adding a touch of elegance to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or naturalized areas.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

37. Goat’s Beard

Aruncus dioicus blooming in the summertime. Flowers of Goats beard. Bush of Aruncus dioicus. Beautiful blooming white fluffy flowers of the Aruncus dioicus bush in the garden on a bright sunny day.YayImages

Goat’s Beard features large, feathery plumes of white flowers that bloom in early summer.

It prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial to full shade.

Regular watering and mulching keep this plant healthy and vibrant.

Goat’s Beard is perfect for adding a touch of elegance to shaded borders, woodland gardens, or as a focal point.

To maintain its health, provide consistent moisture and protect it from harsh sunlight.

Shade loving perennials such as ferns growing in a low light forest garden.YayImages

Conclusion

There you have it! Thirty-seven best perennials for shade to transform your shaded garden into a lush paradise.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting, these plants will thrive in the shadows, adding beauty and color to your outdoor space.

So, grab your gardening gloves and get planting—your shaded garden will thank you for it!

Thirty seven shade-loving perennials for full shade garden landscaping.

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