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Shade Gardening

There are many plants that are suitable for shade gardening. I have described some of my favorites below.

These perennial shade loving plants are great for shade gardening. Most do well in partial-sun filtering through shrubs and deciduous trees.


  • Hostas are shade loving perennial plants.
  • They make great ground covers with their compact growth.
  • They are hardy perennials that bloom bell-shaped lavender or white flowers in the summer, making them a good choice for shade gardening.
  • Varieties differ in color, size, shape, and texture of the leaves.
  • Leave colors include dark green, bluish-green, and pale yellow.
  • Some leaves are edged in white or yellow.
  • Leave size varies between rather large to small and wavy.

They are very easy to grow. In spring and fall hostas may be divided and transplanted to new areas.

When choosing hostas for shade gardening, I suggest grouping a few varieties together to make a beautiful show in your garden. The differences in size, color, and texture will give you the elements important in creating a beautiful landscape.


  • Another shade loving perennial plant is the fern. Growing to a height of 2-3 feet, these lush and tropical looking shade plants also make good ground covers.
  • Ferns are noted for the deep-rich leave colors and sword-like shapes.
  • Leaves vary in color from emerald green to light green.
  • Some varieties have leaves that are streaked with shades of silver.
  • The textures vary between soft and flowing to tall and spikey.
  • These shade plants look great surrounding trees. And with their tropical appearance, they look beautiful around a pond or a spa.

Ferns can also be divided in the fall and transplanted to new areas. After transplanting they may appear to be rather unhealthy, but rest assured they will thrive the following year.

Lily of the Valley

  • The sweetest smelling of shade plants.
  • They make good ground covers. So good that they will take over an entire area, so it is best to plant these alone.
  • They bloom little bell shaped flowers.
  • Lily of the valley will grow in deep shade.


  • There are different varieties of begonias, some of which are grown as houseplants.
  • Outdoor begonias are annuals. This means that they only have one growth season.
  • They bloom beautiful bright flowers summer until frost.
  • Begonias are great for shade gardening because of the color they provide. The colors of the flowers can be red, orange, yellow or white.

Hardy English Ivy

  • If you have a trellis or arbor that's in the shade, this is a good climber.
  • English ivy provides year-round green leaves.

These are just a few of my favorite shade plants. There are many more perennial plants that are great for shade gardening.


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