Shade is present in almost every yard or garden, whether it is a small patch or the majority of available garden space. Many shade-loving plants are able to grow in partial shade, especially if they only get morning sun, which is less harsh than afternoon sun. Some varieties of shade-loving plants will happily grow in your garden for years with very little help from you, except additional watering in times of drought. To make your shade garden virtually maintenance-free, mulch the ground around the plants with 2- to 4-inches of organic mulch, such as wood chips, shredded bark or buckwheat hulls. The mulch will improve the soil as it decomposes, keep the soil evenly moist, and retard the growth of weeds.
Daylilies are a flower that blooms copiously in part shade. They are available in varieties with golden yellow, yellow or orange flowers. Each flower lives for just one day: It opens in the morning and closes at sunset, withering overnight. The faded bloom will drop off the plant the following day. They are virtually maintenance-free and will live in your garden for many years. Plant them in front of a selection of taller ferns for a virtually maintenance-free shade garden.
Hostas are available in dozens of varieties ranging in height from a few inches up to nearly 3 feet. They come in all shades of solid green. Some varieties are variegated and some have leaves that are bluish-green or yellow-green. Hostas are a virtually maintenance-free plant for shade gardens. In mid to late summer they send up a stem, which grows several inches taller than the leaves. Tiny lavender or white bell-shaped flowers form along the top few inches of the stem and will continue blooming until frost. Create a garden of hostas, taking advantage of their great diversity of size and leaf color.
Hydrangeas are a classic shrub-like perennial flower that grows well in part shade. They are very low maintenance, requiring only that their stems be cut down in early spring to make room for the current year's new growth. Do not cut the stems back in autumn; their flowers will dry naturally on the branches, becoming paper-like and retaining their shape, providing winter interest in the garden. Hydrangeas are widely used as foundation plantings. Put them in a garden bed of their own so their spectacular blossoms don't outshine the other flowers.