Plants for a Shade Flower Garden

Brightening up a shady area can be a challenge for any gardener, but shade can work, even with colorful flowers. Though there are fewer selections with blooming plants that thrive in the shade, there are enough, including the award-winning lenten roses, begonias, hyrdrangea or impatiens that thrive in the shade, particularly if they are planted in richly organic soil.

Lenten Roses

Lenten roses (Helleborus x hybridus), which were selected the "Perennial of the Year" by the Perennial Plant Association in 2005, are an evergreen member of the buttercup family, according to These plants, which can grow to 2 feet tall, bloom in late winter or early spring and can last for months. Available in a variety of colors, including purples, reds and yellows, lenten roses are hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9. Plant lenten roses in organically-enriched soil and kept moist.


Begonias (Begonia) are a popular, shade-loving flowering plant that has more than 1,500 species, including wax and Chinese, which is hardy to USDA Zone 6. Most begonias are originally from tropical climates and require warm weather to last as perennials, but can be planted in cooler climates as annuals. The plants are small shrubs that can grow to 4 feet, have waxy leaves and flowers in many colors, including white, pinks, scarlet or yellows. Begonias thrive in shade, particularly in warmer areas. Soil should be kept moist, and begonias also do well in containers.


Most hydrangeas (Hydrangea) thrive in morning sun and afternoon shade, but in the most southern and warmest climates, the more shade the better, as plants will wilt in the direct sun and heat of Zone 8 and higher. In a flower garden, hydrangea will add interest and a burst of color. Available in white, pinks and blues, hyrdrangeas also have large, green, variegated leaves. Plants can grow to 9 feet tall, though they are slow growing and many shrubs top out at 3 feet. Soil should be well-draining and kept moist. Blooms are large clusters of small star-shaped flowers.


Impatiens (Impatiens) are probably the most popular and well-known shade flower available. These shrub-like plants have small flowers in pinks, whites and reds that bloom through the summer in cooler climates and year round in warmer climates. Impatiens have heart-shaped leaves and require moist soil. These plants can be invasive, as seeds spread when the blooms open. Impatiens may be annuals in colder climates and perennials in warmer areas. These plants also thrive in containers.

Keywords: flowers for shade, shaded gardens, Impatiens

About this Author

J.D.Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the U.S. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as writing about travel, health and other issues. Chi received her bachelor's degree in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward her master's in journalism.