Shady entryways and the area under trees often present a dilemma for gardeners looking to add color to a spot with little sun. But there are shade-loving perennials that produce blooms--even in areas that are considered full shade. Most of these blooming shade perennials require ample water and may be planted in containers.
Astilbe (Astilbe) is also known as meadow sweet has evergreen foliage in addition to plumes of tiny flower clusters in colors ranging from pink and red to white. Some varieties can grow to 4 feet, though most top out at 2 to 3 feet. The plant blooms in spring and summer and prefers part to full shade. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Hardiness zones 4 to 9, astilbe may be used as a border plant or in a container. Whether planted in part or full shade, keep plants moist for best performance.
Helleborus (Helleborus) has basal clumps of leafy stems that can reach 3 feet tall, and produce blooms about 1 inch wide in late winter to spring. Hardy in zones 5 to 8 and zones 9 and 10 in the West, where humidity is not an issue, helleborus is available in yellows, pinks, reds, greens and bicolor varieties. The foliage is evergreen and leaves are comprised of smaller toothed leaflets. Helleborus may be used under high-branching trees or as a border plant in a shady garden. Plants thrive in rich, organic soil and require regular water. Helleborus is slow to establish and should not be split or moved.
Usually planted for their vibrant foliage, hostas (Funkia) are a tried and true shade perennial--and do produce blooms. A member of the Liliaceae family, hostas produce flower spikes of trumpet-shaped blooms, usually in summer. The Hosta plantaginea Venus hybrid has fragrant white double blooms that are trumpet-shaped and fragrant. Depending on the variety, hostas may have leaves that are oval, round, heart shaped or lance shaped. Foliage color may be bright green, blue-gray or variegated. Hostas are clumping plants that will expand over time and may be used in a garden or as a container plant. Hardy in zones 5 to 8, hostas require regular water.