How To: Choose Plants For Shady Gardens

Some people think that having a shady garden means you can’t have a variety of plants and flowers. But don’t worry, as there are plenty of vibrant plants that will thrive without lots of sunlight. Shade-dwelling plants often require less maintenance than their full-sun counterparts as well as less watering and fertiliser. 

Here we’ve compiled a list of shade-loving plants that will brighten up dark corners as well as provide ground cover or fill spaces between large shrubs and trees.

How To: Choose Plants For Shady Gardens

What to Consider

It is important to consider what type of shade you have in your garden. For example, light shade means slight shade for all or most of the day. Partial shade means the area gets the sun for some of the day whereas dappled shade means there is a little sun filtering through overhead foliage. 

It is also worth noting if the soil in this area is usually wet or dry as these factors will affect the type of plants that will thrive in this spot. 

Remember also, that opting for too many greens can make an already dim area look even darker. Try bringing the area alive with pale, pastel or vivid colours such as white, yellow, lilac and pink.

Best Plants for Shade

  • False Goats Beard (Astilbe): This flowering plant enjoys partial to full shade and sprouts purple, pink or white flowers. It prefers predominantly wet soil that is well-draining.
  • Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla): This deciduous perennial provides excellent ground cover and its leaves are heart-shaped and vary from creamy pale green to neon lime. The flowers bloom in spring and are a beautiful blue colour.
  • Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica): These plants will provide you with an abundance of vibrant colours for your garden. It will attract a variety of pollinators which is great for the environment. Fuchsias will grow in partial to full shade and will bloom all summer.
How To: Choose Plants For Shady Gardens

  • Foxglove (Digitalis): A very pretty addition to any shady garden with plentiful, bell-shaped flowers that range from white to pink and purple. This plant will not do well in hot weather, so requires plenty of shade throughout the year.
  • Primrose (Primula): Primrose plants are relatively easy to grow and will often begin flowering in spring. Simply provide some shade and well-watered soil for these plants to flourish.
  • Forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris): You can add swathes of colour with these tiny azure-blue flowers. They love dappled shade from trees and grow best in damp conditions. These plants provide ground coverage where trees or large shrubs have been planted.

  • Viola (Viola tricolor var. hortensis): Viola contains 400-500 species of flowering plants with hearts and scalloped-shaped leaves with flowers that come in a wide variety of colours. They bloom when it’s cold and are even edible!
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis): Snowdrops will flower at the end of winter often pushing up through the frozen ground and blooming until early spring. They survive in full shade, in heavy moist soils.
  • Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis): This unique plant bears red/pink heart-shaped flowers with white tips. They have arching stems and flower in late spring to early summer. They will grow in light, damp shade and look wonderful growing between evergreen shrubs and trees. 

Here we have chosen some of the most colourful plants to use in your garden, but there is also a wide range of ferns and non-flowering plants which love shady spots in the garden. Speak to a member of our team at Holt Garden Centre who will be happy to recommend some plants for that shady spot lurking at the bottom of the garden.

Read More

  • How To: Care For Your Lawn

    How To: Care For Your Lawn

    Looking after your lawn needn’t be stressful. Check out our how-to guide keeping your grass fresh and green, all year round.

  • Purple Perennial Plant

    How To: Plant Perennials

    Learn how to plant perennials in these four easy steps.

  • How To: Grow Your Own Herbs & Spices

    How To: Grow Your Own Herbs & Spices

    Check out our guide to find out the easiest herbs and spices to grow both indoors and in your garden.

  • Monarch Butterfly on Flower