Many gardeners fill in shaded areas with fountains and other outdoor features or settle for unremarkable ground cover, but a surprising number of attractive and unusual plants can live in the shade. Shade is not a drawback to an area, but an advantage because it allows you to experiment with unconventional fauna which would be scorched or out-competed in sunnier areas.
Variegated Solomon's Seal
Variegated Solomon's seal is an unusual shade plant native to both North America and Europe. It has striking green leaves with attractive white borders and a rhizomatic root system that allows it to form dense colonies of plants. The thing that makes this plant truly unusual is its flowers. Blooming in late spring, this shape plant droops with clusters of tiny, delicate white tubular blossoms with green rims. They like moist soil and will spread quickly to fill shaded or partly shaded regions of the garden.
Few things are more unusual than a carnivorous plant, and Nepenthes or pitcher plants are among the most striking of the carnivores. Like other Nepenthes, Nepenthes hirsuta uses nectar to lure insects to a pitcher filled with digestive enzymes which dissolve its prey. Unlike other Nepenthes, however, this unusual shade plant does well in diffuse, low-light conditions, making it a perfect unusual plant for a slightly ghoulish garden.
Spiranthes, also known as ladies' tresses, are unusual shade plants known for their gorgeous floral displays. These unusual plants form spirals of flowers wrapped around thin stems. Many ladies tresses, such spiranthes cernua prefer partial shade but will grow in deeper shade as well. Different species have strikingly different floral patterns and coloring, so choose ladies' tresses that match your own gardening tastes.