Top 20 Perennial Plants for Shady Spots

Top 20 Perennial Plants for Shady Spots

Every garden has areas that receive little or no sun during the day and for some people this is a problem when choosing plants. In fact there are many plants that are suitable for growing in the shade. Just think about how many woodland flowers grow naturally in these conditions. This list of the twenty best perennial plants for shade comes from the Better Homes and Gardens website.

Brighten up sheltered spots in your landscape with these easy-to-grow, colorful shade plants that come back year after year.

Bigroot Geranium

One of the toughest colorful plants that grow in shade gardens, bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) doesn’t mind heat or drought. And deer and rabbits typically pass these shade flowers by in search of tastier morsels. These colofrul shade plants put on a spring show with pink or white flowers; some varieties also offer outstanding fall coloration in their woodsy-scented foliage. Bigroot geranium is hardy in Zones 4-8 and grows 2 feet tall.
Top Picks: ‘Album’ offers white shade flowers; ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’ offers clear pink flowers; ‘Variegatum’ has purple-pink flowers and white-variegated leaves.
Plant It With: Add height and interest to shade gardens by planting bigroot geranium in front of toad lilies.

Toad Lily

White Towers toad lily
Put on a shade-flowers show with toad lily (Tricyrtis). These easy-to-grow flowering shade plants offer unique flowers that are often compared to orchids. Many are spotted with shades of purple or blue.
Top Picks: ‘White Towers’ bears white flowers; ‘Tojen’ offers especially large lavender flowers.
Plant It With: Let toad lily rise up in shade gardens behind a clump of medium-size hostas or fern-leaf bleeding heart.


One of the best plants for shade, these top-notch shade perennials are grown mainly for foliage, but they also bloom blue flowers in the spring. Select varieties of this shade plant offer dark purple or variegated foliage, or pink or white flowers. Ajuga grows best in Zones 3-9 and grows only 6 inches tall.
Test Garden Tip: Ajuga can be a vigorous spreader; it’s not the best choice for small spaces.
Top Picks: ‘Golden Glow’ has creamy-yellow edges; ‘Black Scallop’ offers shiny, dark purple leaves and fragrant blue flowers; ‘Burgundy Glow’ offers silvery-green leaves splashed with pink and burgundy; ‘Chocolate Chip’ offers smaller, purple-infused leaves.
Plant It With: Purple-leaf ajuga varieties look great against blue hostas in shade gardens.

See more at Better Homes and Gardens

I am a keen gardener and so created Garden Pics and Tips for people who love gardens and enjoy great pictures of plants and gardens. Also covered are practical tips on all aspects of gardening.