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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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”.