Ideas for Shade Gardens

Liven up a shade garden with blossom-filled flowers and bright green plants. Planted in shady spots of the garden, vibrant plants create commanding displays that help fill in an otherwise colorless, dark bed. The north side of a home typically receives less sun exposure, making it the ideal spot for a shade garden. Have fun choosing plants that suit your hardiness zones.

Green Accents

While most flowers and plants require full sun, shade-loving plants help bring color and texture to the darker areas of the garden. Create a lush and vibrant design among the shaded areas of your landscape by planting green accent plants like ferns. Dixie wood ferns have commanding, 4-foot fronds with a pendulous arching shape. Tucked along the border or under a shade tree, they create a showy display. Growing 3 to 6 feet tall, Dixie wood ferns have an upright, clumping habit that tolerates some sun but thrives in shaded planting environments with moist soil. Dixie wood ferns are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 9.

Colorful Blooms

Perennials flowers that thrive in low light are an ideal way to bring color into your shade garden. Grown in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors, they create a long-lasting addition to the garden. Tucked into containers or placed within a shaded perennial bed, they help light up the landscape. Shade-loving perennials like foxgloves bring in an exotic touch to the garden. Growing on upright spikes ranging from 24 to 60 inches tall, they are an ideal perennial to plant as the backdrop of a shade garden. The purple and white flowers emerge in spring to last through the season. Foxgloves are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9. Blue-diamond impatiens are also ideal for a shade garden. This perennial flower has sapphire blue flowers that, according to Fine Gardening magazine, "resembles an elegant crane in flight." A summer-bloomer, blue-diamond impatiens grow 1 to 3 feet tall and wide with leaves that resemble polished jade. Blue diamond impatiens are hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11.

Shaded Shrubs

Bring height and fullness to your shade garden with evergreen shrubs like camellia. Not only do they provide bright, winter-blooming flowers, they retain their bright green foliage all year long. Growing 8 to 15 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide, camellia shrubs have semi-double to double flower heads that emerge in winter and last into spring. The colors range from white and pink to rose and striped varieties. The leaves on camellia shrubs are shiny and leather-like. Plant camellia shrubs in rows along a shaded garden wall or alone as a specimen plant within the garden. Camellia shrubs are hardy in USDA zones 7 to 9.

Keywords: shade garden ideas, green plants, dixie wood fern, perennial flowers, shade-loving shrubs

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in and and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and