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Garden Plants That Love To Grow In The Shade

Garden Plants That Love To Grow In The Shade
Posted at 7:55 AM, Mar 24, 2016
and last updated 2021-03-25 19:26:55-04

Spring is here, and it’s time to start planning your garden. If you have a garden that is mostly in the shade, it can be a challenge to find plants that do well under full or partial shade rather than full sun.

There are some plants that actually thrive in the shade, though, and you can plan to fill your garden with these hearty blooms and foliage. Check out this list of flowers and plants that will grow just fine in areas of your yard or garden where the sunshine is blocked.

Flowering Maple

The splendid and richly-hued flowering maple is a sub-tropical plant that prefers warmth and moisture, but can thrive in partial shade. When the blooms open up, they bear a resemblance to the luscious, dramatic hibiscus.

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Bleeding Heart

With its intricate heart-shaped blooms, the bleeding heart plant might seem like it would be high-maintenance, but all this plant needs to thrive is some rich soil and partial to full shade. The bright pink “hearts” will bloom for a few weeks during the spring and early summer.

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Creeping Jenny

The pretty tendrils of creeping jenny plants will thrive in partial sunlight and low, damp areas of a garden or pathway. This attractive plant is incredibly easy to grow — maybe too easy, as some people complain that it spreads too quickly. But if you’re looking for easygoing ground cover, creeping jenny provides pleasant foliage.

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Garden Hydrangea

Hydrangeas may only bloom for a little while each year, but the spectacular show that they put on once they burst into color is worth the wait. Even better, these plants are relatively fuss-free, only requiring water, dappled sunlight and occasional light pruning. According to Sunset, you can try changing the colors of your hydrangeas from pink to blue or purple by adding coffee grounds to the soil, which adds acidity.

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Ferns

If you’ve taken a hike though the woods, you’ve probably noticed ferns growing abundantly on the dark forest floor, which is proof that these verdant, leafy plants don’t need direct sunlight to thrive. Any area that is moist and shady should work well for growing this attractive foliage.

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Coleus

There’s something trippy and retro about the coleus plant, which comes in a variety of bright and interesting color combinations. With leaves that almost appear hand-painted, the coleus is sure to spark some conversation. This plant is most content in full shade, though it can still thrive in partial sun.

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Hostas

If you’re not sure about committing to a showy flowering plant for the shaded areas of your garden, consider planting some hostas, which come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and textures. Hostas are relatively neutral and highly versatile plants that complement many other plants and flowers — and they thrive in a cool, damp environment.

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White Trillium

You might have spotted the three-petaled trillium while hiking through the woods, as these flowers enjoy low, damp ground and ample tree shade. White trilliums look sweet next to other woodland plants and flowers that have similar needs, such as ferns and columbines.

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Astilbe Hybrids

These elegant flowering plants make a unique addition to any garden, and you can find ones that bloom in pink, red, pale purple and white. Preferring shaded areas in moist soil, the astilbe hybrids look lovely planted along pathways or even simply in pots.

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Lily Of The Valley

Technically, the lily of the valley is part of the asparagus family — it’s not actually a lily at all. This asparagus cousin produces dainty white buds that will look sweet and thrive in any shady area, even directly beneath a tree. Fair warning, though: Lily of the valley can grow and spread quickly, even over large areas.

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Persian Shield

The ornate leaves of the Persian shield look like they were hand-painted and dipped in purple dye, producing an eye-catching effect. In addition to adding a flashy silvery purple color to your garden or walkway, Persian shield can make a great houseplant because it blooms in the wintertime and doesn’t require more than partial sunlight.

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Amethyst Flower

Planted in gardens or hanging baskets that receive warm shade or filtered sunlight, the amethyst flower will happily bring forth its delicate blossoms of violet or white. These pretty flowers prefer warm, moist environments, but they don’t require full sunlight to thrive.

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Columbine

The lovely blue-purple hue of the bell-shaped columbine provides a striking contrast to other colorful blooms in your garden, and best of all, columbines are not very fussy. Partial shade is best for these delicate flowers, as they don’t do well in extreme heat.

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Begonias

With their showy, vibrant blooms and relatively easygoing nature, begonias are particularly charming additions to patio and porch areas. They will thrive in pots or hanging baskets if planted in rich soil with good drainage. Set in an area with filtered shade, they’ll happily provide your exterior space with a cheerful pop of color.

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