Shade Plants & Vines

Most plants and vines need at least partial exposure to sunlight in order to thrive. This can pose a problem if some areas of your garden or landscape are in the shade for most of the day. Luckily, there are some plants and vines that will grow in shady areas if their other needs are met.

Fiveleaf Akebia (Akebia quinata)

The fiveleaf akebia (Akebia quinata) is a very hardy, deciduous (evergreen in warm climates) vine that will grow in almost any conditions, including full shade. It is a fast-growing plant that will reach heights of 30 feet. The fiveleaf akebia has small, spring-blooming, purple flowers that give off a light, pleasant scent similar to chocolate. For that reason, it is often called the chocolate vine. This vigorous vine can grow over and crowd out other plants, so it is sometimes considered an invasive plant.

Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subspecies petiolaris)

The climbing hydrangea is a popular vine. Desirable for its large clusters of white flowers, this vine grows well in the shade and blooms throughout the summer. The vine can become quite heavy, so it needs support in order to thrive. The climbing hydrangea can reach heights upwards of 25 feet, and it will grow in both shady and sunny locations, especially in cool climates.

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra exima)

The bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia) gets its name from the heart-shaped, drooping flowers it produces in the spring. The flowers, which are pink in color, can bloom for up to six weeks in the summer, after which they fade. The feathery leaves of this perennial plant, however, continue to add visual interest until fall. The bleeding heart grows well in shady areas and is often found growing in the wild in the dark areas underneath coniferous trees.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the Valley is a common shade plant that can spread rapidly and even become invasive in some areas. This perennial thrives in moist, shady gardens. In the spring, the lily of the valley produces white, bell-shaped flowers that give off a light fragrance. An additional benefit to planting this flower is that deer rarely eat it. This could be because the plant contains toxins, so it should not be grown in areas where pets or small children frequent.

Keywords: shade plants and vines, plants for shade, shady areas, shade gardening

About this Author

April Sanders has been a writer and educator for 11 years. She is a published curriculum writer and has provided academic content for several subscription databases. Sanders holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in social psychology and a Master's degree in information sciences and technology.