Shade-Loving Flowering Perennials

Shady locations in the garden provide a respite from the heat of summer. Perennial plants that flower in the shade often put on a show after perennials planted in sunlit locations fizzle out in the summer heat. Despite the challenges presented by shady locations, numerous perennial flowering plants flourish in such a landscape location and can provide years of enjoyment.

Black Snake Root

The black snake root (Sanicula marilandica) grows well in full shade locations. The plant attains a height up to 4 1/2 feet, with foliage that ranges from dark green to almost purple in appearance. During the months of June and July the black snake root produces non-stop blossoms that appear a greenish-white. The tiny flowers appear in clusters of up to 25 individual blossoms. The plant requires moist soil conditions to thrive. It can withstand short stretches of flooding without undue harm to the plant or its root system. All parts of the plant are harvested to treat sore throats, fevers and stomach disorders, to make skin lotions and poultices, and to treat burns and other dermatological disorders.


The lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria magalis) grows from tiny rhizomes that rapidly spread to naturalize the areas the small plant is planted within. It grows best in full or partial shade. The plants will tolerate dry conditions, so they are ideal located under large water-hungry trees. In the spring or early summer the plant produces tiny, fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers in abundance. Once the flowers die away, green spike-like foliage remains. The plants stand 8 to 12 inches in height. The lily-of-the-valley is extremely poisonous, so care must be taken when planting around small children or pets.


The shade-loving goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria L.) is considered a weed by many, as it is highly invasive, but it is a common shade garden plant that produces blossoms. Care must be taken when planting it to prevent it from escaping cultivation. Goutweed tolerates a wide range of soils with ease. It prefers well-draining soil and will tolerate moist or dry conditions. The plant grows to a height of up to 3 feet and produces large clusters of tiny white flowers in the mid-summer months.


The lungwort (Pulmonaria) produces tiny, bell-shaped flowers in the spring months. Flower colors are either white, blue, purple or red. Each night the flowers close, and when morning light arrives they again open. The plant enjoys full to partial shade. Foliage appears large and hairy. Most varieties are green in color, but a few offer mottled or variegated leaves. The plant enjoys rich soil conditions. It spreads quickly and makes an excellent ground cover in shady areas.

Keywords: perennials for shade, lungwort, lily-of-the-valley, goatweed, black snake root

About this Author

Kimberly Sharpe is a freelance writer with a diverse background. She has worked as a Web writer for the past four years. She writes extensively for Associated Content where she is both a featured home improvement contributor (with special emphasis on gardening) and a parenting contributor. She also writes for Helium. She has worked professionally in the animal care and gardening fields.