shade plants

many pretty annuals, perennials, and even a few shrubs thrive in shady locations. a variety of hellebore, these stunning perennials bloom from late winter to early spring and come in a range of gorgeous colors. this deciduous perennial is one of the few ornamental grasses that thrives in the shade. also known as hardy geraniums, these perennials have spicy-scented foliage and pretty blooms of pink or purple from late spring through summer. these vigorous flowers bloom from spring to a hard frost in every color of the rainbow from white to hot pink to pale peach.

plant in borders, as foundation plantings, at the base of trees or shrubs, or in containers. they come in tons of bright colors to fill pots, hanging baskets, window boxes, and landscape beds and bloom all season long. also called wishbone flower, this perky annual comes in shades of pink, white, and purple and lasts from spring to fall. once used to treat lung ailments, this perennial has pretty silver-spotted foliage and pink or purple flowers in spring. plant on hillsides, in mixed borders, or as a foundation planting.

as a founding employee of gardener’s supply, i wore many different hats over the years. the gardens around my home in richmond, vt, include a large vegetable garden, seasonal greenhouse, cutting garden, perennial gardens, rock garden, shade garden, berry plantings, lots of container plants and a meadow garden. the once-a-year perennial plant sale at our company’s vermont garden center is a huge event. once i’ve cautioned the person that they’ll be hard-pressed to find another plant as rugged and carefree as a hosta, i tell them about my top 10 easy-care, shade-tolerant perennials. plant breeders have had a field day with the genus heuchera. there seems to be no end to the variations in leaf color: silvery, burgundy, purple-black, chartreuse, salmon and rusty orange. a low, spreading plant with silvery foliage and purple, pink, red or white blooms in early summer. the bottle-brush flowers are white or pale pink and i find them showier than those of most heucheras.

lungwort flowers in spring and its blossoms are quite showy, ranging in color from white through pink and blue — with different colors often appearing on the same plant. if you choose varieties with different foliage colors, bloom times and heights, they can add lots of interesting color and texture throughout the season. i find digitalis grandiflora the easiest and most reliable of the bunch. it’s short (12-15″) and clump-forming, and the narrow leaves have a cascading habit. they come in every color of the rainbow and range in size from little 3-inch dwarfs to 4-foot giants. i also like euphorbia polychroma (shown at left), which is a dome of chrome yellow in late spring. in zones 5 and warmer, try euphorbia polychroma ‘bonfire’, which has three seasons of color. the flowers, which appear in early june, are yellow-green and make a fabulous filler for bouquets of almost any color.

in ecology, shade tolerance refers to a plant’s ability to tolerate low light levels. the term is also used in horticulture and landscaping, although in this context its use is sometimes imprecise, especially in labeling of plants for sale in commercial nurseries. learn about the top 20 shade-loving plants, including hosta, heuchera, dead nettle, tiarella, astilbe, foxglove, ferns, hydrangea and more. perennial: astilbe, bleeding heart, fern-leaf bleeding heart, foxglove, geranium cinereum ‘ballerina’, hellebore, winter cyclamen perennial: ivies, low-growing ferns, and hellebores fill in those shade spots with woodland beauty. or, try planting a shorter hosta, like mouse ears, as a low-growing, year round plants for shaded areas, shade loving flowering plants, shade loving flowering plants, perennials for shade that bloom all summer, evergreen plants for shade.

, tall plants for shade, low-maintenance perennials for shade.

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