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10 Best Shade-Loving Plants | Gardening Advice

10 Best Shade-Loving Plants | Gardening Advice
6 votes, 4.33 avg. rating (85% score)
bleeding hearts

Photo/Art by Brenda Darroch
Bleeding hearts add a touch of delicate beauty to the yard.

Looking to accent the shady areas of your garden or outdoor landscape this summer? There are several shade-loving plants—both annual and perennial as well as  flowering and non-flowering— to consider. They come in a variety of sizes and textures, and all thrive in darker, moist and wet conditions. Here are my picks for the ten best shade-loving plants that are sure to add interest and beauty to those low-light areas of your yard.

  1. Lily of the Valley
    Although these shade-loving plants only flower for a few weeks early in the season,they are well worth the effort.  The small, fragrant,white,bell-shaped flowers are dainty and a seasonal delight.
  2. Ferns
    Native and zone hardy ferns lend a natural appeal to shade garden and woodland areas. Ferns are naturally very  disease and pest resistant and require very little care. There are many varieties to choose from such as the Maiden hair fern which is light and wispy to the Cinnamon fern with a rusty brown hue.
  3. Lobelia
    Small dense deep blue flowers that bloom throughout the summer add a pop of rich color to darker areas.
  4. Impatiens
    An annual accent to shade gardens, these  flowering  plants can be found in red, white and pink.
  5. Creeping Myrtle
    An evergreen groundcover, this plant produces small  green leaves that resemble ivy with little blue flowers. Fast growing and hardy, it thrives in almost all soil types.
  6. Forget-Me-Not
    A low growing annual plant that also sports beautiful tiny blue flowers and thrives in damp conditions
  7. Hosta
    Hostas consist of healthy green leaves that grow close together in bunches with shoots that flower in white bell shapes. These traditional shade-loving plants come in a variety of  sizes and hues—including variegated species.
  8. Bleeding Hearts
    A Victorian favorite—delicate, beautiful and romantic—bleeding hearts hang from vine-like leaves. The heart colors come in shades of light pink, white and fuchsia.
  9. Begonia
    An annual with heavy, crinkly textured leaves in dark maroon and green hues and periodic flowers are right at home in any shady area.
  10. North American Bee Balm
    This perennial plant can grow up to  a few feet tall, and has a pleasant smell and clusters of red flowers that attract bees and butterflies.
Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Fleming-Wigglesworth is a certified Maine Master Gardener and award winning newspaper columnist from Kennebunk, Maine. She has been writing for the York County Coast Star for more than a decade as a freelance columnist and features writer. In 2010 she began writing her own gardening column “The Master Gardener’s Notebook” for Tourist News. She also teaches gardening classes at local schools and colleges
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