Flowers that Bloom in the Shade

Sunlight for a few hours each day will bring out the brightest colors in a flower's blooms. But shady areas don't have to stay dark. Brighten up a shady corner with any one of several flowers that will bloom in the shade. Be sure to plant the shade-loving flowers in well-draining soil that can be improved by mixing compost or peat moss into its top few inches.

Annual Flowers

Impatiens are popular, inexpensive, shade-loving plants that are available in an ever-increasing variety of sizes and colors. Gardeners looking for flowers that grow in the shade can also consider begonias. Begonias are versatile plants that will provide low-maintenance color to flower beds or hanging containers. Other annual flowers that can tolerate very limited sunlight include salvia, coleus, lobelia, silver bells, nasturtium, pansies, and fuchsia.

Perennial Flowers

If you're seeking perennial plants that will be adaptable to shady conditions, look for woodland plants that naturally prefer shade, such as bleeding heart, lily of the valley, columbine, trillium or jack in the pulpit. Blooming perennials that do well in partial shade include bergenia, geranium, foxglove, forget-me-not, lobelia and daylilies do well in partial shade. The number of perennials that will thrive in the shade is limited, but a reputable greenhouse or nursery should carry shade plants appropriate for your area.


Any spring-flowering bulb, including daffodils, snowdrop, crocus, tulips and lilies, can be planted in the shade, and will bloom beautifully. But without at least a few hours of sunlight each day, the bulbs will only bloom for one year. Bulbs gather energy that the leaves draw from sunlight. If your bulbs are in full shade, you'll need to dig them up, discard them, and plant new bulbs in the fall. Keep in mind that bulbs can do well planted under deciduous trees because by the time the leaves appear on the tree and block out the sun, the bulbs will be finished blooming.

Keywords: shade-loving plants, shade-loving annuals, perennials, spring-flowering bulbs

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.