Shady spots in a garden are often thought of as difficult areas where nothing will grow. But this could not be further from the truth provided you first ascertain what type of shade, whether partial or full and then chose plants suitable for the situation. I found an article by Amanda over on the American Meadows website which explains how to check the degree of shade and then lists a number of perennials, bulbs and wildflowers that will grow happily in these conditions.

Gardening in shade can sometimes be challenging, but doesn?t have to be frustrating! Turn your shady areas into colorful showpieces by first defining what type of shade you have and choosing varieties that will bloom all season long. There are enough shade-loving perennials and bulbs to fit any gardener?s landscaping needs ? we promise!

This shade-loving perennial garden includes Hostas, Geranium and Lamium.

Defining Shade

A common misnomer among gardeners (myself included at one point) is that all shade is the same. That couldn?t be further from the truth ? growing a successful shade garden rests upon your ability to accurately define the type of shade you have in your area. That will be integral to deciding which plants will thrive in your garden.

  • Full Sun: Let?s define full sun as the type of light you see in open meadows and areas with no tree cover. This means that the area gets 10 or more hours of sun per day.
  • Partial Sun: This type of light can be found on the edge of trees and woods, but not directly underneath tree cover. This means the area gets 5 to 10 hours of sun per day.
  • Partial Shade (sometimes called Open Shade): Light shining through widespread tree cover produces partial shade, meaning this area gets less than five hours of sun per day. Also found in the shadows cast by tall structures for part of the day, or on the north side of buildings.
  • Full Shade: Heavily wooded forests and woodlands offer up full shade, meaning there is never really any direct sunlight hitting the ground.

Most of us think of partial shade when we think of shade; which means the landscape gets about 5 hours or less per day. Good news: there are plenty of varieties that thrive in this type of sunlight!

Bleeding Hearts are a true conversation-starter in any shade garden.

Perennials For Shade

With dozens of plants to choose from, there is plenty of fun to be had planning your shade garden for this season!

  • Astilbe is one of our favorite perennials for a creating a colorful display under trees and in shady areas around the border of your garden. Spiky, textured blooms are offset by spectacular foliage. These native beauties offer up color mid-season and come with an exciting bonus: fabulous cut flowers!
  • Hostas are often the stars of the shade garden, offering up great economic value. Plant just one and in a few years you?ll have several to work with! Hostas are perfect for lining walks, edging gardens and creating dramatic accents in almost any spot.
  • Bleeding Hearts not only thrive in the shade, but offer up a true conversation piece in the early spring garden. These colorful perennials illuminate any shady setting with their heart-shaped blooms. Pair them with Hostas or ferns for some classic drama.

See more at American Meadows