Shade Plants That Provide Summer Color

Most backyard gardens have various microclimates, with some areas being more shaded and moist than others. Those shaded areas can present a challenge to gardeners who enjoy vibrant colors, as many popular flowering plants need full or partial sunlight. There are shade-loving exceptions to that rule, whether gardeners want flowers, shrubs, vines or even small trees.


There are several shade-loving flower species that provide bright bursts of color. The daylily (Hemerocallis) is a low-maintenance shade flower that produces orange or yellow flowers. The Bleeding Heart (Dicentra) plant is another shade-loving flower that creates rich, red-hued blossoms. For pots in the shade, choose fuchsias; they come in a dizzying array of hues and thrive in pots. Gardeners with damp, moist shaded beds should choose a flower like the purple and white Lysianthis, which does well in such conditions. Additional flower species that like shade include hydrangeas, impatiens and some types of geraniums.


Shrubs and trees grown close to houses or other outdoor structures are often in partial to full shade and must be able to survive without direct sunlight. Gardeners can choose from several flowering trees and shrubs that provide color throughout the spring and summer. The flowering dogwood is a dwarf shade-loving tree that produces large masses of light pink to white flowers. Several dwarf cherry trees, like the Cornehan Cherry, also grow in shade.


Sometimes, individuals may need to grow hedges or shrubbery near large trees or walls that cast deep shadows. In such situations, a shrub like the Rhododendron can make an excellent choice, producing flowers from the spring through the early summer. Alternatively, try the Juneberry shrub, which grows white flowers year-round.


Flowering vines can lend attractive colors to tree trunks and shaded trellises. While vines like the common ivy can create a deep, rich blanket of green, gardeners may want a more vibrant and showy display of summer color. For such situations, gardeners can select from several flowering vines that grow well in shade. Examples include the trumpet vine, a known attractant for the hummingbird, and clematis vines. Climbing hydrangeas are an additional option, but grows rapidly and needs careful maintenance to keep it from overwhelming your structure.

Keywords: shade plants, summer, color

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.