Shade-loving plants that bloom are much desired. Many gardeners have hosta and ferns in their shade locations, but need a “punch” of bloom or color. These blooming shade plants work well under trees and beside tall buildings that restrict sunlight. For a plant to be shade-tolerant, it will need to be able to grow and thrive in low-light areas.
The purple toadshade plant is a perennial that has dark or light green leaves 2 to 4 inches long. Flowers are greenish, maroon, brown or yellow and never fully open up. They will appear in the early spring and have a spicy scent. Plant a purple toadshade in neutral soil and in shade. Propagate via seed or by rhizome division.
The foxglove is a short-lived perennial that is used as a heart medication (digitalis). It has dark green or white and wooly leaves 5 to 10 inches long. Flowers are tubular and on stalks up to 3 to 5 feet tall. Flower colors can be yellow, cream, white, lavender, pink, purple or streaked/spotted. Flower blooms appear in spring and summer. Plant a foxglove in moist acidic soil in partial shade. Propagate via summer or fall seed.
The large periwinkle is a fast-growing evergreen perennial with stems getting up to 12 inches. Flowers are blue and 2 inches wide. Leaves are 2 to 3 inches long and dark green. Flowers will appear all spring and some of the summer. Plant a large periwinkle in any soil in full sun or partial shade. As a ground cover, it is best in shade. Propagate via cuttings or by rooted shoots.
The parrotlily is a drought-tolerant perennial that is a hummingbird attractor. Stalks start out 8 to 12 inches tall and end up 18 to 30 inches tall with foliage at the peak of the stalk. Leaves are pale green and droop. Flowers are red, tubular and 1 to 2 inches. They will appear in summer. Plant a parrotlily in rich acidic soil that is well aerated. It needs high or partial shade in those warmer climates, but can survive in full sun in cooler temperatures. Propagate via seed, realizing that only 20 percent will grow with success.
The pinecone ginger is a fast-growing, easy-to-grow perennial. It has narrow leaves that can be variegated. It will reach 7 feet tall with bracts in mid to late summer. These bracts look like pinecones, turning from green to red then blooming with yellow flowers. Plant a pinecone ginger in moist fertile soil in full sun or partial shade. Propagate via clump division or by rhizome division.