Gardening with Shady Perennials

Shade gardening can be an exciting challenge. Many of the most beautiful plants in the world grow in the shade. Combining them successfully can produce gorgeous, lush gardens, attractive in all seasons. The amount of shade varies from garden to garden and it may differ in each area of a garden. Shade also varies by season and by time of day.

“Light Shade” to “Part Shade” means a plant is exposed to direct or filtered sun for less than four hours a day.
Shade” means the plant is in shade throughout the entire day.

Consider that morning sun is not as strong as afternoon sun. Hot afternoon sun may be too much for shade plants to handle. Morning sun is cooler and preferred by many shade loving plants. Also consider that one plant in a sunnier garden can entirely shade another.

Designing and Installing a Shade Garden

There are many elements involved when designing any garden. In shady spots the use of leaf textures, colors, and patterns is important because there are usually fewer showy flowers than in sunny areas. Using plants with contrasting and coordinating foliage can make a garden come alive with color and light even if the plants never produce flowers.

Once you know how shady your garden is, preparing your soil before planting becomes the most essential element to long-term success in your garden. You can make things easier by preparing your soil before beginning planting. Adding organic matter to the first 6 inches of the soil will make all the difference between a healthy garden and one that struggles. Peat moss, composted manure, and/or aged compost can be worked into the ground to improve soil conditions.

It is also important to factor in the water requirements of each plant and to consider some soils hold moisture well while others drain well. Some perennials have fairly specific soil moisture requirements. To ensure success choose your plants wisely and plant ones that may be more adaptable until you get used to your garden and your watering habits. Good luck and have fun!

Included below is a list and pictures of just a few of the many plants from our extensive shade perennial section.  As always feel free to consult with any of our perennial and garden design experts. There is sually at least one is on staff each day.

Some shade loving perennial options
  • Bleeding Heart  – Dicentra
  • Hosta
  • BuglossBrunnera macrophylla
  • ColumbineAquilegia
  • Coral BellsHeuchera
  • Astilbe
  • PeriwinkleVinca
  • Lenten RoseHellebore
  • LungwortPulmonaria
  • Anemone
  • Foam FlowerTiarella
  • SpikenardAralia ‘Sun King’
  • Coral BellsHeuchera
  • Dead NettleLamium
  • BarrenwortEpimedium

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