How to Plant Shade-Loving Flowers


There are three primary conditions that affect the growth of plants in gardens. Almost all plants are affected by soil conditions, water and the amount of sunlight the plants receive. Most plants prefer full sun, but there are a select few that prefer shady conditions. Shade loving plants must frequently compete with trees for nutrients, and must tolerate poor air circulation. To garden in shade, you should select and plant shade-loving plants and flowers. Shade-loving flowers are planted similarly to sun-loving flowers.

Step 1

Select flowers that are marketed for partial sun to full shade growth. Some of these plants include impatiens, lily of the valley and bleeding hearts. These flowers can be paired with foliage plants, such as hostas and ferns, for spectacular shade gardens.

Step 2

Remove leaves from the surface of the garden. Leaves can mat down and smother the roots of plants that you are trying to grow.

Step 3

Run a core aerator over the surface of soil to open up tiny holes in the soil. Spread compost over the surface of soil, and then rake it into the aeration holes. Compost should not be left on the surface of soil in a mulch that is several inches thick, because it can smother the roots of trees.

Step 4

Open planting pockets in the surface of your soil for your flowers that are twice as thick but no deeper. Place the flowers inside the planting holes, and cover with soil.

Step 5

Water your garden frequently. Shade gardens need more water than gardens grown in full sun because tree roots often steal moisture from the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Shade loving flowers
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Core aerator
  • Compost
  • Garden hose
  • Sprinkler


  • University of Missouri Extension: Gardening in the Shade
  • Colorado State University Extension: Perennial Shade Gardening

Who Can Help

  • NC State University: Wildflowers
Keywords: shade gardens, growing shade plants, flowers under trees

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."