Perennial Shade Plants

Shade locations can sometimes be a challenge to plant when they are located under trees or by fences. Planting perennials in these areas allows gardeners to plant once and enjoy the benefits for seasons to come. Perennial shade plants can be propagated to allow for additional gardens from a single plant.

Bear's Breech

Bear's breech, or Acanthus mollis, is from the acanthus family. It is a perennial that is also known as artist's acanthus or Grecian pattern plant and grows 5 feet tall. Leaves are 3 feet long with white, pink or purple flowers on stalks. Plant bear's breech in partial shad with loose average or rich soil. Propagate via seed or root cuttings and grow in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 10.

Purple Toadshade

Purple toadshade, or Trillium underwoodii, is from the lily family and has an 8 to 12 inch stem with whorls of leaves and a flower that is a greenish maroon color. Leaves will get 2 to 4 inches long. Plant this one in neutral or basic soil in full shade. Propagate via seed or rhizome division and grow in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 8.

Peacock Ginger

Peacock ginger, or Kaempferia laotica, is from the ginger family. It is a perennial that has 6 inch wide oval leaves and violet or purple flowers. Plant it in shade with moist, well drained soil. Propagate via division or by rhizome cuttings and grow in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11.

Cinnamon Fern

Cinnamon fern, or Osmunda cinnamomea, is from the cinnamon fern family. It is a wetland perennial that has 3 to 5 feet tall fronds with cinnamon brown fiddleheads. Plant this one in partial shade in moist, acidic soil. Propagate via division or spores and grow in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 10.


Yacon, or Polymnia sonchifolia, is from the aster/daisy family. It is a perennial that gets 6 feet tall with 8 to 14 inch long leaves and 1 inch wide yellow flowerheads. Plant this one in loose, well drained soil that is organically rich. Yacon works well in partial shade. Propagate via seed, offshoots, rhizome division, tuber division or by root cuttings and grow in USDA hardiness zones of 7 11.

Japanese Tassel Fern

Japanese tassel fern, or Polystichum polyblepharum, is from the wood fern family and has dark green fronds. Spores are underneath the fronds. Plant this evergreen in full shade in moist soil. Propagate via clump division and grow it in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9.

Keywords: shade locations, perennials, Perennial shade plants

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years (in health and gardening topics) and a writer for 20 years. She has one book, "A Georgia Native Plant Guide," offered through Mercer University Press. She is happy to be a LIVESTRONG writer.