Shade Loving Plants for Oregon

Oregon encompasses a wide range of hardiness zones, with winter lows ranging from -30 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Finding shade-loving plants that grow in these diverse climate zones is not difficult. Gardeners can choose from a range of flowering shade plants and green plants that enjoy shade and rich, moist soil. Many of these plants are native to the Pacific Northwest and readily available at local nurseries and garden centers.


Columbine flowers grow in sun to part shade and come in a wide array of colors. The flowers can be white, yellow, purple, red or blue; most flowers are bicolored. Columbine grows in hardiness zones 3 to 8, which encompasses most Oregon towns. The flowers bloom from spring to summer and may reach 3 feet in height. Columbine requires rich, well-draining soil and frequent watering.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding heart (Dicentra) features pink, purple or white heart-shaped flowers in the spring and summer months. This plant thrives in shade and grows in hardiness zones 3 to 9, suitable for all Oregon communities. Bleeding heart's fringed foliage varies in color from spring green to bluish green.

Western Maidenhair Fern

Native in zones 3 to 8, the western maidenhair fern (Adiantum aleuticum) grows throughout most of Oregon. This fern reaches 30 inches in height when mature. Its black-stemmed fronds have light green wing-like foliage. Western maidenhair ferns can grow in shade or sun and enjoy watery environments near riverbanks or streams.

Wild Ginger

Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) is a low-growing ground cover that enjoys full shade. This plant has bright green kidney-shaped leaves and bell-shaped purple or brown flowers in the springtime. Wild ginger needs moist, rich soil. This plant averages 4 to 6 inches in height. Hardy in zones 3 to 8, wild ginger thrives in all areas but the southwestern coastline of Oregon.

Keywords: Oregon gardening, shade gardening, Pacific Northwest garden, Oregon shade plants

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.