What Plants Prefer Full Shade?

Lighten up a shaded spot within the landscape with flowering perennials and colorful evergreens. Evergreen plants have the capability of remaining their vibrant green all year and are ideal tucked along a backyard patio or along a shaded garden wall. Perennial blooms grown in a dark corner of a flower bed or along a shaded area of the home bring in bright bursts of color and texture. By planting a few shade-loving plants within your landscape, the space becomes a serene oasis to enjoy all year.

Autumn Fern

Like many ferns, the autumn fern prefers full shade. This evergreen plant has a clump-forming shape and is easy to grow. The autumn fern grows up to 24 inches in height for a medium-sized evergreen fern. This lovely fern has coppery pink leaves when young that mature to a deep, glossy green. The fronds on the autumn fern are long and segmented with curved teeth. This evergreen remains tall through the winter, making it a good choice among a shaded flower bed. The autumn fern prefers moist, nutrient-rich soils to thrive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness zone is 6 to 9.


Also called the lenten rose, the hellebore is a shade-loving perennial that requires moist, rich and well-drained soils. This hardy plant grows between 12 and 18 inches in height and begins blooming in early spring. The flowers on the hellebore are white, pale pink and has a nodding shape, as though they were looking down. The large leaves on the hellebore are dark green and contrast with the light colored blooms. Hellebores are lovely lined up along a shaded garden wall or along the side of a house for texture and color. They are also great spreaders and will propagate around the landscape over time. The USDA hardiness zone is 4 to 9.

Fringed Bleeding Heart

This early summer bloomer requires full shade and rich, moist soil. The bleeding heart has deep pink blooms and bluish green leaves. The pendulous shaped flowers contrast with the lacy, fringed foliage for a stunning perennial plant. The mounding form of the bleeding heart grows up to 12 inches in height and 15 inches wide, making this long-lasting plant popular in hanging baskets. The bleeding heart also emits a fragrance. The hardiness zone is 3 to 8.


This creeping, shade-loving evergreen remains with color all season long. Ivy plants are relatively low growing and reach a maximum height of 6 inches. This climbing vine has shiny, smooth leaves that are heart-shaped. Ivy has moderate growth rate and is popular creeping around trees and outdoor structures like pergolas and arbors. The USDA hardiness zone is 7b to 9.

Keywords: shade plants, autumn fern, hellebore blooms, fringed bleeding heart, shady-loving ivy

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.