Selecting the right plants for shady garden locations can challenge gardeners. Along with low-light growing conditions, new plants in shade locations often must compete with mature trees for soil nutrients and moisture. Planting of fast-growing shade plants requires the inclusion of additives such as compost and manure to boost soil quality. With the correct support, new arrivals quickly become sturdy plants in the shade garden.
Lily of the Valley
The extreme tolerance to moisture makes lily of the valley an excellent plant for the shade environment. Lily of the valley prefers well-drained soil and thrives in light conditions from full shade to full sun. The wide leaves of this plant give way to long stalks that feature white bell-shaped flowers. This perennial reaches a mature height of 16 inches and grows with a mounding habit. Lily of the valley grows well in USDA hardiness zones 2 to 7. This plant is deer resistant because foliage, stems and flower are poisonous. Proper growing conditions of organically rich soil and adequate moisture causes rapid spreading of this plant by rhizomes. Lily of the valley blooms in late spring and produces a light, airy fragrance.
Shade tolerance goes hand in hand with the hosta plant. These beautiful foliage perennials thrive in the partial shade garden. Gardeners consider hosta a border ground cover, but this plant performs well in any type of placement in the garden. Hostas feature a mounding growth habit with thick stems that arch outward from the center. The stems attach to wide, rounded leaves of various shades of green. The blue-hued hostas prefer a shadier location than the sun-tolerant variegated white leaf hostas. Most hostas require some direct light exposure each day. These plants perform best in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8 with early morning light to aid flower formation. Gardeners prize hosta for the 1- to 2-foot high and wide foliage, but this plant also produces beautiful lavender flowers in late summer. Provide rich, organic soil and plenty of moisture for this fast growing shade perennial.
Impatiens feature medium green heart-shaped leaves and long-lasting blooms. This shade-loving plant grows riotously with fertile soil and adequate water. Impatiens reach mature height of about 30 inches, although ideal growing conditions can produce larger plants. This annual plant produces flat round flower blooms that provide long lasting color in the shade garden. Flower colors include white, pink, red, orange and purple. Flowers last throughout the summer with very little attention required other than regular watering.