Shade Plants That Change Color

A shade garden is a garden you cultivate when you have a limited amount of sun in your yard. If you have a shady yard, you can find many ground covers, shrubs and trees that will still grow and thrive in partial to full shade. However if you want to enjoy the change of color that accompanies the change of season, you may have to look a bit harder for shade plants that will exhibit fall foliage.


If you are bored by the constant green of your hosta, try planting a Boston ivy which has leaves that will turn red in the fall. A Virginia creeper will have leaves turning red or purplish in the fall, and a plumago will have yellow, red and bronze fall foliage. Alternately, though it does not change colors, the Japanese painted fern will give you a splash of color all season with its green, silver and red coloring.


Shrubs can be a colorful addition to a shade garden. Arrowwood viburnum and highbush cranberry turn yellow to reddish-purple. Koreanspice viburnum turns purple in the fall, and large fothergilla turns a mix of yellow, orange and red. Redosier dogwood has reddish-purple fall foliage while witchhazel and Virginia sweetspire change to deep red leaves in the fall.


Trees that grow in the shade and change color include the sourwood tree which has fall foliage colored red, yellow and purple. The serviceberry tree has yellow to red color in the fall. The American hornbeam turns yellow to orange-red and the Ohio buckeye tree turns yellow to orange.

Keywords: shade garden plants, fall foliage, plants that change color

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She writes fiction, creative non-fiction and essays. McCarty's work has been published in Hip Mama magazine.