Flowering Plants for the Shade

Gardeners with heavily shaded yards may look with longing at their garden store's racks of sun-loving flowers. Their situation isn't as dark as it may seem. A wide range of flowering plants thrived in shady spots, according to the University of Missouri Extension. Garden shade patterns change with the seasons and the sun's path across the sky. Choosing the right plants will bring color to your shady areas throughout the growing season.

Astilbe Erica

Summer-blooming astilbes (Astilbe) are shade-loving, perennial workhorses. Reaching up to 3 feet high and 2 feet wide, they are hardy to minus 30 degrees F. When astilbes are not in bloom, their mounds of fernlike foliage provide graceful garden interest. Erica is an astilbe cultivar with narrow, feathery spikes of dense heather pink flowers rising above deep green leaves in June and July. While relatively pest-and-disease-resistant, it may die back in very hot summers or prolonged dry periods. Use it in massed plantings for shade and woodland gardens and shady borders, advises the Missouri Botanical Garden. It also thrives along ponds and stream edges. Give it consistently moist, organically rich well-drained soil. Divide it every 3 or 4 years if flower production diminishes.

Yellow Cordyalis

Yellow cordyalis (Cordyalis lutea) is a shade perennial hardy to minus 20 degrees F. Up to 18 inches tall and wide, it provides May-to-September garden color. Three-quarter inch yellow-spurred flowers nod over its mounds of ferny green leaves. Yellow cordyalis grows most vigorously in locations with cool, low-humidity summers. Use it in shady rock gardens or as a woodland ground cover, recommends the Missouri Botanical Garden. Plant it in rich, consistently moist, well-drained soil. Amending heavy soil with gravel and providing summer compost mulch in hot summers may help. Wet winter soil can kill this plant.

Lamium Pink Chablis

Perennial lamium (Lamium maculatum), commonly known as deadnettle, can withstand winter temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees F. A ground cover or trailing container plant, it grows 6 to 12 inches high by 18 inches wide. The Pink Chablis lamium hybrid has scalloped, silvery leaves with contrasting green edging. During June and July, it bears small, hooded pink blooms. While lamium has few disease or insect problems, it develops crown rot in poorly drained locations. Its foliage may die back in hot humid conditions. Plant it in averagely moist, acidic, pH below 7.0, loam. Plants positioned between 6 and 10 inches apart will rapidly form a ground cover.

Keywords: shade flowering plants, shade gardening, low light flowers, deadnettle

About this Author

A freelance writer, Judy Wolfe has owned Prose for the Pros, a freelance writing business, since 2006. She's been an inveterate traveler since 1961 and draws on her travel experiences to provide articles for such websites as Chincoteague Island Vacations and Berlin Dude. Wolfe holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from California State University at Pomona.