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Not all plants need sunlight to thrive. If you have a nice gardening spot in the shade, you have a lot to choose from. Perennials like Hostas, Coral Bells, Astilbe and Bleeding Hearts grow well without direct sunlight. There are many evergreens, like a variety of Aucuba trees with large waxy green leaves, some with bright yellow spots. One of our favorites is Rainbow Leucothoe with delicate white blooms in the spring and new growth that appears in pinks and whites. These are reliable perennials that you see in yards and gardens all over this region. They tolerate shade well and serve as a nice backdrop for other brightly-colored flowering plants. Be sure they have good drainage, and they’ll be fully mature in four to eight years.

Ajuga

Ajuga

A ground hugging perennial that will carpet your shaded areas, growing up to 6 inches in height with beautiful erect purple flowering stocks. Also known as Bugleweed, this flowering ground cover keeps its color in fall and early winter.

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 6"
  • Spacing: 15"
  • Blooming Season: Summer
Astilbe

Astilbe

Perfect for shaded areas with moist soil, the astilbe will bring their tall, fluffy plumes and colorful flowers atop frilly, fern-like foliage bringing beauty and height any garden or landscape. Once you’ve had an established bloom you can transfer to other areas of your garden. Astilbe are very hardy in winter and even when not in full bloom offers a rich green to golden foliage throughout the year.

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 5'
  • Spacing: 2'
  • Blooming Season: Summer
    Other Varieties
  • Fanal Astilbe
  • Fanal Astilbe

    Fanal Astilbe

    Showy red plumes with green to bronze foliage each summer.
    • Mature Height: 20" - 24"
    • Mature Width: 15" - 18"
    • Blooming Season: Summer
  • Deutschland Astilbe
  • Deutschland Astilbe

    Deutschland Astilbe

    Feathery like white flowers green and bronze fern like foliage.
    • Mature Height: 24" - 30"
    • Mature Width: 18" - 24"
    • Blooming Season: Summer
  • Rheinland Astilbe
  • Rheinland Astilbe

    Rheinland Astilbe

    Rose feathery flower bronze green fern like foliage.
    • Mature Height: 2'
    • Mature Width: 2'
    • Blooming Season: Summer
Begonias

Begonias

  • Lifespan: Annual
  • Mature Height: 8"
  • Spacing: 8" - 12"
  • Blooming Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Caladiumns

Caladiumns

  • Lifespan: Annual
  • Mature Height: 1' - 3'
  • Spacing: 8"
  • Blooming Season: Summer
Coral Bells

Coral Bells

If you need a pop of color that is reliable and will take up some room, consider a Coral Bell. Coral Bells can also thrive on a shady boarder and be a great addition to your containers. You don’t have to rely on the flower for the color, the foliage comes in a variety of colors as well.

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 24"
  • Spacing: 1' - 2'
  • Blooming Season: Summer
    Other Varieties
  • Georgia Peach Coral Bells
  • Georgia Peach Coral Bells

    Georgia Peach Coral Bells

    Lush peach colored foliage with a whitish overlay and cream colored flowers.
    • Mature Height: 14"
    • Mature Width: 24"
    • Blooming Season: Summer
  • Palace Purple Coral Bells
  • Palace Purple Coral Bells

    Palace Purple Coral Bells

    Mahogany red foliage with white flowers.
    • Mature Height: 12" - 18"
    • Mature Width: 12" - 18"
    • Blooming Season: Spring, Summer
  • Plum Pudding Coral Bells
  • Plum Pudding Coral Bells

    Plum Pudding Coral Bells

    Plum colored foliage with tiny white flowers.
    • Mature Height: 8" - 10"
    • Mature Width: 12" - 18"
    • Blooming Season: Summer
  • Stainless Steel Coral Bells
  • Stainless Steel Coral Bells

    Stainless Steel Coral Bells

    Silver leaves with dark maroon veins with purple underside creamy blooms.
    • Mature Height: 8" - 12"
    • Mature Width: 24"
    • Blooming Season: Spring
  • Sunrise Falls Foamy Bells
  • Sunrise Falls Foamy Bells

    Sunrise Falls Foamy Bells

    Large maple shaped yellow green leaves with red veins. has white flowers.
    • Mature Height: 7"
    • Mature Width: 30"
    • Blooming Season: Spring
  • Sweet Tea Foamy Bells
  • Sweet Tea Foamy Bells

    Sweet Tea Foamy Bells

    Large dissected orange foliage in spring leaves darken to copper during the summer. small flower spikes.
    • Mature Height: 20"
    • Mature Width: 28"
    • Blooming Season: Summer
False Spirea

False Spirea

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 8'
  • Spacing: 8' - 10'
  • Blooming Season: Summer
Ferns

Ferns

A vascular plant that has neither seeds nor flowers, is known as a fern. Many ferns are heat and cold tolerant, but you do want to do your research to understand their needs before diving in. Ferns tend to spread, often underground. Consider a herbicide or digging a trench to keep them where you want them.

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 2'
  • Spacing: 24"
  • Blooming Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Hellebore / Lenton Rose

Hellebore / Lenton Rose

A rich in color flowering plant that can thrive in full sun to shade, but does thrive in moist, yet well-drained soil. Great for four-season color, often taking bloom in late winter, early spring. There are many varieties of species, find the one that fits your garden’s personality and space.

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 18" - 24"
  • Spacing: 15"
  • Blooming Season: Spring
Hosta

Hosta

A very popular addition to your landscape, Hosta’s add a variety of green elements with large leaves that though shade-tolerant, express their colors when exposed to filtered or morning sun. Hosta’s don’t stay green in the winter, so cutting back (pruning) is often advised. A variety of Hostas can bring you many varieties of unique leaf shape, size and color.

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 2'
  • Spacing: 18"
  • Blooming Season: Summer, Fall
Jack Frost Siberian Bugloss

Jack Frost Siberian Bugloss

Jack Frost Siberian Bugloss delightfully shimmers in your garden, even in the shade. The ethereal, heart-shaped leaves are patterned with green veins. In spring, delicate sprays of hundreds of bright blue forget-me-not-like flowers dance above the plant.

This plant is more durable than it looks, making it an excellent fit for gardening beginners. It is easily grown in the cool, shaded regions of your garden. While it is deer resistant, make sure to watch for slugs and snails!

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 12" - 18"
  • Spacing: 12" - 18"
  • Blooming Season: Spring
Lamium

Lamium

If you’re looking to add some color and ground cover to the dark corners of your landscape or want a more vibrant look than that of mulch or rock, consider Lamium. Lamium, often called dead nettle, comes in a variety of color, silver leaves, is about 6 inches tall and is a tough but showy ground cover. Often referred to as “colorful carpet”.

  • Lifespan: Perinneal
  • Mature Height: 15"
  • Spacing: 3"
  • Blooming Season: Spring