The Best Shade-Loving Plants

Browse our gallery to find plenty of plants that thrive in the shade.

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©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image Courtesy of First Editions

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding heart, Dicentra spectabilis, is native to woodlands and a shade-loving perennial. The name "bleeding heart" describes the unique flowers, which resemble tiny pink or white hearts with drops of blood at the bottom.

Hosta 'Buckshaw Blue'

'Buckshaw Blue' hosta has thick, textured leaves that are a deep blue-green. White flowers on 26-inch scapes appear in midsummer.

English Ivy

English ivy is a frost-resistant, deciduous climber. It is best planted in shade and moist, but well-drained soil.

Jerusalem Sage

Jerusalem sage, Pulmonaria saccharata, makes a great groundcover in a shade garden. Its showy, trumpet-shaped blooms go from pink to purple as the plant ages. Grow it under taller trees or shrubs for a fabulous showstopper.

White Trillium

Trillium grandiflorum is a charming woodland wildflower suitable for growing in shade gardens. It features three whorled leaves and large, three-petaled white flowers with slightly ruffled edges.


There are a wide assortment of hydrangea varieties in varying color and size, and most perform best when given afternoon shade. 

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley is an old-fashioned perennial with delicate, tiny, bell-shaped flowers. It will grow in the deep shade of large trees and shrubs, and makes a good choice for small spaces.

Foam Flower

Foam flower is a good woodland groundcover. It prefers partial shade in well-drained soils that retain some moisture. Its foliage is often variegated and deeply cut. Masses of tiny, white flowers appear in late spring through summer.

'Mrs. Popple' Fuchsia

'Mrs. Popple' fuchsia produces showy, scarlet and purple flowers that hang from arching stems June to October among slender, deep green leaves. This vigorous, single-flowered fuchsia makes a lovely feature plant for a partially shady border.

Lenten Rose

Lenten rose (Helleborus orientalis), also called hellebore, is clump-forming, late winter blooming perennial that features large, cup-shaped flowers with yellow stamens. An early bloomer, lenton roses pop up in late winter and continue into spring.

Dead Nettle

Dead nettle is valued in the garden for their sprawling foliage that makes an excellent groundcover in a shady garden. Its 1-inch long flowers look like snapdragons and bloom in May and June.


Sempervivum tectorum, commonly called houseleek or hens and chicks, are ornamental succulents that will tolerate shade and can also be grown indoors.


Columbine has delicate red, orange, and yellow flowers. It's happy in full sun or full shade, and prefers moist, well-drained soil. The perennial is an eagerly self-seeds, so deadheading is necessary if you want to control the spread.

'Double Mint' Gardenia

From midsummer to early fall 'Double Mint' produces masses of double-flowered white blooms with a sweet, potent fragrance. This quick-growing shrub begins blooming the very first season. 

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