Flower Garden Plants for Shady Areas
SF240 Ramosa ( Cimicifuga Ramosa Atropurpurea )
A wonderful perennial plant for zones 3-8b, growing about 5 feet tall when mature.
A wonderful partial shade plant. If you enjoy tall, stately, dark perennials with fragrant flower spikes, consider starting Cimicifuga seeds and growing this remarkably beautiful plant. With intensely colored foliage of reddish purple and ivory white flowers, this is one perennial that creates a breathtaking display.
Commonly called Bugbane, this dark foliage plant thrives in partial shade and moist, organically enriched soil. Bugbane plants are slow to establish and can take several years to reach their full height of 6 feet. Needs consistently moist soil. Cimicifua seeds will need a cold, moist stratification.
TRN593 Hungarian Bear's Breeches ( Acanthus Hungaricus )
This acanthus has exquisite, dark green basal leaves with rigid flower stalks and hooded blossoms which are pinkish-white touch with mauve. Acanthus is a great perennial for massing as a groundcover in partially shady sites. Also known as Hungarian Bear's Breeches, this plant of is worthy of any landscape. The leaves of Bear's Breeches were said to have been the model for the ornamental on Corinthian columns.
Acanthus Hungaricus has proven to be much hardier than most other forms of Acanthus. It is well worth trying in colder regions particularly with a winter mulch. Bear's Breeches is excellent for cutting, fresh or dried. Acanthus plants dislike wet soil during the winter months. You may divide bear's breeches in spring and any root pieces left in the ground will grow into new little plants, this is important as seeds are rare and expensive, but by starting a few plant from seeds and dividing them, you can have a lot of plants in a few years. Zones 6-8
For more Acanthus varieties, visit our Acanthus Seed Page
TRZ044 Wild Ginger ( Asarum canadense )
Best known for its use as an attractive, low-growing ground cover in a shaded woodland setting, Wild Ginger is also deer-resistant. It enjoys shaded, moist, somewhat acidic soils and will grow 6" in height and the large heart-shaped leaves can be 6" in diameter. The leaves are shiny when fully opened and the stems are hairy. Unlike many early spring woodland plants, Wild Ginger will keep its foliage throughout the season; it will not go dormant so it is a good species to plant among the spring ephemerals that do go dormant. An attractive dark red flower will appear under the plant early spring but will fade fairly quickly.
Although unpalatable to deer and other mammals, it is an important food source for the Pipevine swallowtail Butterfly. Many insects are attracted to Wild Ginger, including ants, believed to pollinate the plant. It's best to propagate this plant by divisions rather than try to get it going from seed. Divide plants in the early spring before they are actively growing or in the fall as they go dormant.
Many Native American Indian tribes used the root of the Wild Ginger plant as a seasoning or to treat colds and fevers. European Settlers to this continent also learned to use the root as a flavor substitute to the tropical ginger they were used to. Other common names include Woodland Ginger, Ginger Root, Heart Snakeroot, Indian Ginger, Asarabaca, and Catfoot.
Seeds need a warm, moist period followed by a cold, moist period
Mix seeds with sterile media. Place mixture in a sealed plastic bag in a
warm place (about 80°F) for 60 to 90 days. Then place in refrigerator (33-
38°F) for 60 to 90 days before sowing. Or, sow outdoors and allow one full
year for germination.
IP218 Giant Exhibition Palisandra
Originally selected as a houseplant, Giant Exhibition Palisandra is also a fine specimen in the shade garden, and is just the right size for containers.
Soft, neatly serrated burgundy-maroon leaves are 6 inches long and up to 4 inches wide.
IP253 Toad Lily ( Tricyrtis hirta )
Toad Lily, is perhaps best known for its unique flowers, ability to bloom in shade and late summer to early fall bloom time.
Can be used in borders, woodland gardens, shade gardens or naturalized areas. Plant in areas where they can be easily observed at close range, because the beauty and detail of the small flowers becomes lost at a distance.
Numerous orchid-like blossoms, purple spotted lilac on plants growing 30-36" tall, hardy for zones 4 and higher.
Germination: Place seeds in the refrigerator for a month (or longer) before planting. Sow the seeds onto a moist growing medium and maintain a temperature of 65-70°F until germination which takes from 4 to 6 weeks.
1A342 Shady Flower Mix
This is a wonderful mix for shady areas. Turns troublesome shady spots into beautiful patches of wildflowers that will attract butterflies and bees. A wonderful mix of flowers: Columbine, Bellflower, Shasta Daisy, Chinese Houses, Coreopsis, Monkey Flower, Forget-Me-Nots, Larkspur, Sweet William, Purple Coneflower, Baby's Breath, Candytuft, Snapdragon, Baby Blue Eyes, Poppy Mix and Johnny Jump-Up.
15g pack will cover 100 sq. ft.
3551 False Solomon's Seal ( Smilacena racemosa )
This native woodland perennial is seen less in gardens than it deserves. It has very fragrant flowers from late spring into early summer, grows about 30" tall and looks wondeful in clumps. The upright, arching stems have lots of style with their broadly oval leaves and fluffy heads of fragrant creamy-white flowers in late spring, followed with large berries that turn red by fall. Slowly spreading into a widening clump, it is well behaved. Hardy and undemanding in USDA Zones 4-9.
FB166 Whipcord Cobra Lily ( Arisaema tortuosum )
A very weird and unusual houseplant or conversation plant from the Himalayas. Part Sun to Light Shade, does well inside. Zone: 6-9.
Here is one of the true conversation pieces of the aroid world. The thick 4' tall fleshy petiole (stalk) emerges in early June, adorned by two tropical looking palmate green leaves near the top. As the leaves unfurl, the pitcher that tops the stem opens to reveal a green jack-in-the-pulpit flower, but with a whip-like tongue that extends from the mouth of the flower upwards to 12 or more inches.
Flowers may be male or bisexual. The clustered fruits are green at first, ripening to red. The plant grows in large clumps and can be up to 5-6 feet in height.
Needs a constantly moist but well-drained, neutral to acid soil in partial shade and a cool spot.
SF015 Aquilegia "McKana Giants ( Aquilegia
Perennial. Columbines are one of the most beautiful and elegant
of perennials. 'McKana Giants' are a long spurred variety,
growing up to 3 ft with large blooms in a very bright range of
single and bi-colours. Seen in a group these flowers look
almost unreal or other-worldly. Very dramatic. The hummgbird
loves this perennial which can be easily grown in sun to part
shade in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Long flowering from
early summer and onward.
Color: Wide Range Zone: 2-9 Spacing: 24" Height:36" Start
Seeds: Late Winter, for transplanting outside in
IP247 Goat's Beard ( Aruncus dioicus )
Tall, graceful, robust perennial plant with creamy white plumes
for shade, summer bloom. Plant in rich, moist soil in full sun
to partial shade. Grows 4-5' tall. Flowers in summer. Hardy in
Excellent background plant for shady, moist spots in the border or in a woodland, wild or native plant garden. Plant as a specimen or in groups along streams or water gardens.
D9549 Tussock Bellflower ( Campanula carpatica )
Perennial. An upright perennial growing about 16 inches tall
with delightful lavender blue bell flowers all summer long.
Grows in most soils and tolerates full sun or partial
Color: Lavender Blue Zone: 3-8 Spacing:Close Height:16 inches Start Seeds: Anytime of year inside, for
transplanting outside in Spring.
2570 Coleus Rainbow Mix ( Coleus blumei )
Annual. Easy to grow from seed. Looking for something unusual
for a shady area? Rich-colored leaves in a variety of glowing
shades bring a rainbow of light to partial and full shade. Try
it with, or instead of, impatiens. Old-fashioned favorite is
fun to grow indoors, too. 12 in. tall. Annual. Shade.
TRN595 Honewort ( Cryptotaenia canadensis )
For about a month in mid-summer, Honewort, a shade-loving perennial produces tiny 1/8 inch white flowers, splayed in the compound umbels that are characteristic of its carrot family. The blossoms are not fragrant or showy, but they are very attractive to a variety of native bees and butterflies.
2239 Echinacea Magnus ( Echinacea purpurea )
Perennial. 1998 Perennial Plant Winner. Blooms All Summer Long!
Extra-large, hot-pink blooms up to 7 inches across, with petals
held out flat (instead of recurved), plus easy-care and
drought-tolerant. Magnus reaches 31/2 feet tall in full sun to
light shade, blooms from June through September!
Color: Hot Pink Zone:2-9 Spacing: 12" Height:3-4 feet. Start Seeds: Anytime of year inside, for
transplanting outside in Spring.
3370 Red Baneberry ( Actaea rubra )
Red Baneberry is a lovely woodland native growing 18-24 inches tall with fine-textured foliage and a light and airy texture. Its lacy leaves resemble those of Astilbe and its similar needs make it a great native substitute.
In late spring and early summer lightly scented, delicate white flowers appear above the foliage. Flowers give way to clusters of bright red berries in late summer that are attractive to mammals and many songbirds. Planted in groups, it is a lovely groundcover and it combines well with other woodland natives such as Wild Ginger and Wood Ferns.
Grow Actaea rubra in part or full shade and moist, rich soils. It will be happy in the shade of conifers or deciduous trees, but will have more flowers if morning or afternoon sun is available.
Birds that are attracted to Actaea Fruit include Yellow Bellied Sapsucker, American Robin, Gray Cheeked Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Gray Catbird, and Grouse.
All parts of Actaea rubra are poisonous, but the taste of the berries and leaves is extremely bitter so a toxic dose is unlikely.
A perennial plant for zones 3-8.
SF217 Coral Bells Heuchera Purple Palace ( Heuchera x.
Features very large, shiny, and star-shaped leaves, ranging in color from deep olive green to purplish-bronze. Their undersides, which are quite visible in the loosely formed clumps, are a striking metallic amethyst purple. The 20 inch tall, leafed flower scapes bear an abundance of tiny cream flowers.
Coral bells are easy to grow and blend easily with most other perennials in the landscape. Because of their low, mounding habit, they are often used as edging along paths or in containers.
Excellent in containers or borders, best if planted in
groups with other foliage plants. Prefers full sun or partial shade, in well drained soil or
compost. Zones 3-9
SF211 Rodger's Flower ( Rodgersia Henrici Hybrids
Slowly gaining popularity as a unique plant in the shade
garden, used primarily as a specimen, foliage is has a coarse
texture unlike many other shady perennials, does not like heavy
clay soil. Bold, hardy, large fingered leaf with puffy bright
pink blooms for moist areas as well. Grows 30 inches tall,
hardy for zone 3 and higher.