Shade-loving plants solve gardening problems, going in places where few plants thrive. Plant them in the shade of a tall building or under tall sun-loving trees. Smaller shade-loving plants do well as house plants. Full sun is described as a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight a day, partial shade as 3 to 6 hours of sunshine a day and full shade as less than 3 hours of sunshine a day.
Wishbone flower (Torenia fournieri) is an annual flower that is also known as bluewings and torenia. The plant grows up to 12 inches tall, about the same in width and produces two inch-long smooth leaves and small trumpet-shaped flowers that can be pink, white, yellow, blue and purple, and bloom all summer. Wishbone flowers prefer a moist, organic soil and partial to full shade with the sun in the morning and the shade in the afternoon. It is hardy in Zones 6 through 9, from the southern Mid-Atlantic region to central Florida and along the Gulf Coast. The plant is used in borders and in hanging baskets.
Japanese aucuba (Aucuba japonica) is also known as Japanese laurel and the gold-dust tree. It is an evergreen shrub that will be either male or female that grows from 8 to 10 feet tall and produces 8 inch leaves. The male plant produces small purple flowers and the female produces bright-red berries. Japanese aucuba does its best in light to full shade and moist to dry soil. It is hardy in Zones 6 to 10, as far south as the tip of Florida. The plant does very well in the shade of large trees.
Eastern hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) is also known as ironwood and is a member of the birch family. It is a small deciduous tree that grows from 20 to 40 feet tall and produces yellow-green leaves that grow from 3 to 5 inches long and 1 to 2 inches wide and turn yellow or yellow-brown in the fall. Male and female flowers grow on the same tree as catkins, long, hanging clusters. Two inch-long clusters of seeds appear when the female flowers are done. Eastern hophornbeam is hardy in Zone 4 through 9 only in the eastern United States as far south as central Florida and as far west as eastern Texas. It does not do well in full sun and needs at least a partial shade location and soil that is dry to slightly moist. Plant Eastern hophornbeam in the shade of larger trees.