25 Perennial Flowers For Shade: Add Color to Your Shady Garden

BY Shaafay Zia
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WELCOME to our article, all about perennial flowers for shade!

Are you TIRED of planting flowers in SHADE only to see them wilt away? Do you wanna add some COLOR to your outdoor space?

Well, LOTS of GARDENERS struggle with finding flowers for SHADY spots.

At AsterGardening, we help GARDENERS to find the BEST gardening related-solutions.

In this ARTICLE, we’ll spill all our knowledge and experience. We will hook you up with some shade-loving PERENNIAL FLOWERS!

We’ve researched and tested these plants before giving the RECOMMENDATIONS!

Brace yourself to absorb all the KNOWLEDGE we have about shade PERENNIALS.

Perennial Flowers For Shade

What’s the Meaning of “Shade”?

Perennial Flowers For Shade

Do you know what is meant by “SHADE” regarding perennial flowers? You can THROW them in partial shade to the full sun without a HITCH.

These shade perennials are perfect for rock gardens that get no direct SUNLIGHT. Some EXAMPLES include hostas, astilbes, ferns, and violas.

These plants have some cool adaptations. These HELP them handle lower light levels.

The most common ADAPTION is their BIG OL’ leaves. They tend to CAPTURE more light with shorter GROWTH habits from shade PROTECTION.

When you add shade perennials, they can LEVEL UP your landscaping game. They are BEST for the SPOTS that don’t get enough SUN. 

Suggested reading: 16 Popular Small Perennial Flowers For Low Maintenance Garden
Suggested reading: 15 Purple Perennials To Brighten Up Your Landscape Design

What are the Types of Garden Shade?

Perennial Flowers For Shade

Shade is a game changer for gardening. Knowing how much SHADE they require can ENABLE you to grow them BETTER. Let’s take a look at TYPES of shades:

1. Light Shade

It is the type of shade for sun-loving plants. But it is BEST for that who DON’T like the high intensity of SUNLIGHT.

2. Semi-Shade

Want to grow PLANTS that can handle more direct sunlight? Semi-shade is BEST as they keep the plants PROTECTED and COOL.

3. Dappled Shade

This shade is BEST if plants need both shade and sunlight. They can HANDLE varying sunlight throughout the DAY.

4. Moderate Shade

This shade is suitable for plants that don’t like too much sun exposure. They can HANDLE a bit MORE than others.

5. Deep Shade

This is for plants without direct sunlight and needing LOTS of shade conditions. Varying amounts of partial or full SHADE ensure plants can SOAK in light.

25 Pretty Perennial Flowers for Shade

HEY THERE! Want to BRIGHTEN UP your SHADE garden? We’ve got you covered! Look at these 25 GORGEOUS shade-loving perennial flowers that can THRIVE in the SHADE.

1. Asarum Canadense

Asarum Canadense

So, YOU’RE curious about Asarum Canadense, EH? This wild ginger is a shade PERENNIAL plant found all over North America.

They have been famous for TRADITIONAL MEDICINE for years to SOOTHE stomach problems. And, the best thing; is its DARK GREEN to silver leaf colors.

This plant LOVES to grow in normal soil conditions and is perfect for woodland gardens. It’s pretty HARDY, too – it can handle temperatures as LOW as -30°F.

Do you KNOW what more FUN is? Taking care is EASY once it’s established.

2. Autumn Anemones

Autumn Anemones

Autumn Anemones or Japanese Anemones are LATE BLOOMING shade perennial plants. They come in CHARMING pink, lavender, or white flowers.

These plants are originally from China and Japan. You find their different VARIETIES, like Honorine Jobert and Robustissima.

They grow well in partial shade to full sun and well-drained soil. Moreover, they are HARDY plants that grow well in USDA growing zones 4-8.

You can grow them in cold temperatures as low as -20°F (talk about HARDY nature).

I ADVISE a PROPER CARE routine for them as they are prone to powdery mildew. It’s best to REGULARLY check them and give them the TREAT they DESERVE.

3. Astilbe


Astilbe is a really cool plant gardening plant. It has FERN-LIKE leaves and FEATHERY flowers that look really PRETTY.

Originally from Asia, there are loads of Types of Astilbe, like Fanal and Bridal Veil. They LOVE growing in SHADY areas with WET soil conditions.

Astilbe can survive in USDA growing zones 3-9. You can THROW them in really CHILLY TEMPS down to -40°F.

These plants can have FLOWER PLUMES in pink, red, and white!

These plants can have FLOWER PLUMES in pink, red, and white! Just remember to WATER it regularly so it doesn’t dry out!

4. Bletillas


Have you heard of Bletillas, also known as Chinese ground orchids? Get ready to experience BEAUTIFUL pink, white, and lavender flowers.

They’re NATIVE to China and Japan. Some COMMON CULTIVARS include Kuchibeni and Alba.

You can grow them in PARTIAL to FULL shade with minimum care. My advice is to provide them well-draining soil.

They’re HARDY in USDA growing zones 5-9. Keep in mind that Bletillas REGULAR watering during the GROWING season.

I have GROWN them in temperatures as low as -10°F. If I found them PERFORMING well in low in freezing temperature. So keep them PROTECTED from freezing temperatures in the WINTER.

5. Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts

Oh, you GOTTA love, bleeding hearts! These mid-summer perennials are a favorite among gardeners, and it’s easy to see WHY!

Their heart-shaped flowers are so sweet with Shades of pink, red, and white. You can CHECK OUT Alba and Valentine for white and dark red FLOWERS, respectively.

Bleeding hearts LOVE a bit of shade and well-draining soil. So make sure they GET enough of BOTH.

Keep the soil moist by watering REGULARLY. Add some mulch to retain the MOISTURE. Bleeding Hearts are TOUGH, too! They’re NATIVE to Siberia and Northern China.

What’s more? They CAN bear a RANGE of temperatures, from USDA growing zones 3 to 9.

6. Cinnamon Fern

Cinnamon Fern

Cinnamon ferns are a cool type of fern you can FIND all over North America. They’re UNIQUE because their FRONDS have a cinnamon-like COLOR to them.

They grow in clumps which can make a NICE addition to your GARDEN. Keep in MIND that cinnamon ferns PREFER some shade and wet soil.

I recommend checking out Ostrich and Lady in Red. These cultivars are FAMOUS for TALLER fronds, and REDDISH stems, respectively.

Ensure regular WATERING during the growing season and PRUNE any dead fronds.

My growing experience remained satisfying with them. Cinnamon ferns performed best in USDA growing zones 3 to 9.

7. Corydalis


Corydalis is a sweet little flowering plant native to Asia and Europe. It comes in pink, white, yellow, and tiny blue flowers.

You can GROW them under the shade due to their shade-loving nature. A little EXPERIMENTATION unveiled that they LIKE soil that’s good and drained.

You might like to grow popular cultivars like Blue Panda or Canary Feathers. Just ENSURE to keep the soil DAMP and give it some SPACE to breathe.

By the way, these plants can self-seed. So be sure to SNIP OFF the flowers before they go to SEED. Corydalis is TOUGH enough to GROW in USDA growing zones 4 to 8.

8. Dead Nettle

Dead Nettle

Dead nettle is a cool groundcover plant that can BRIGHTEN your garden. It’s ORIGINALLY from Europe and Asia.

Its LEAVES have silver, green, and purple SHADES, which is neat! Some of the more POPULAR types INCLUDE White Nancy and Royal Purple.

Dead nettle loves to grow in partial to full shade and NEEDS wet soil. Plus, it ATTRACTS pollinators, a big PLUS in any garden.

If you’re going to GROW dead nettle, prune it regularly. It KEEPS from spreading too MUCH.

It’s a hardy plant thriving in USDA zones 4 to 9.

9. Epimedium


Let me TELL you about Epimedium, also KNOWN as bishop’s hat. This Berberidaceae family flowering plant is ORIGINALLY from China and Japan.

This LOW-MAINTENANCE shade perennial with over 60 species is PERFECT for your garden. It PREFERS well-draining soil and partial shade.

I like Epimedium for its heart-shaped leaves. They can TURN red and bronze in the FALL. In the late SPRING, it bears yellow, white, and pink flowers.

Epimedium is HARDY to grow in USDA zones 4-9. But as a GARDENER, I ADVISE their regular PRUNING. Keep them healthy and REMOVE any dead or damaged foliage.

10. Foam Flowers

Foam perennial Flowers

Foam Flowers are an ATTRACTIVE plant NATIVE to North America.

Growing them is EASY as they prefer partial to full shade. If you WANT to grow them HEALTHY, I suggest PROVIDING them in well-draining soil.

Foam Flowers produce delicate and foamy flowers in the late spring and early summer. They are abundant in white and pink flowers.

Do you want to utilize them more than flowers? I have USED them successfully as GROUND COVER. They provide perfect COVER with their VARIEGATED leaves.

You can grow them in USDA zones 3-8. As a GARDENER, you must keep them HEALTHY with regular PRUNING and avoid OVERWATERING.

11. Foxglove


Foxglove or Digitalis is a biennial or short-lived perennial. It is Europe, western Asia, and Northwest Africa native.

These plants BELONG to the Plantaginaceae family and have OVER 20 different SPECIES. These are a bit PICKY and PREFER partial shade and moist, well-draining soil.

Want to know a cool thing about Foxglove?

The color range is amazing for tubular flower spikes. They BEAR pink, purple, white, and yellow flowers.

These tubular flowers suit dry shade gardens in USDA zones 4-9. However, a WORD OF CAUTION, as all parts of the plant are TOXIC if ingested. 

So, better HANDLE Foxglove with CARE.

12. Geraniums


Hardy Geraniums, also called cranesbills, are amazing flowering plants. They COME in many SPECIES from all over the WORLD.

They love sun and shade, a win-win for gardeners. But ONLY if their SOIL is well-drained.

Do you know why Geraniums are very special? They have lovely LOBED and deeply CUT leaves and TONS of small flowers.

They can grow well in USDA zones 3-10. But my EXPERIMENTATION showed that they are PERFECT for zone 9-10.

From the CARE perspective, take my 2 cents. Keep them HAPPY with well-draining SOIL. Remove dead or damaged parts using proper pruning.

13. Hostas


Hostas are SPLENDID plants NATIVE to Asia. You can FIND them dating back to 300 years in Japan and Korea.

Since their origin, hostas have EVOLVED. They are abundant in different sizes, shapes, and colors in CULTIVARS.

Do you know why Hostas are popular? They are notorious for their lush and variegated foliage.

They are COMMON in light green to deep blue-green SHADES.

Hostas can grow well in the full SHADE. Ensure to provide them with wet soil to KEEP your hostas happy.

Hostas perform best in USDA zones 3-9. Trust ME; they can bring BEAUTY to the garden with their amazing colors.

14. Hellebore


Do you LIKE plants with beautiful colors? If yes, Hellebores is the PERFECT plant for your dry shade garden.

These plants are Europe and Asia native. The colors and types are different, with shades from white to maroon.

Hellebore can brighten your garden in late winter and early spring (when not much else blooms).

They are FLEXIBLE when it comes to SUNLIGHT. They can thrive in PARTIAL shade and FULL sun.

They prefer soil that drains well. Want to grow them HEALTHY? Plant them in USDA zones 4-9.

15. Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose is an EASY to care for and COLORFUL flower NATIVE to Europe and Asia. They are great for low-maintenance gardens.

Looking for an EARLY spring shade-loving flower? Try Lenten Rose, as they are PERFECT for adding COLOR to your garden.

They’re tough little guys who can HANDLE partial shade to full sun. These BABIES are like soil that DRAINS well.

They’re also GREAT for areas where DEER likes to munch on plants. They’re NOT VERY tasty to those furry CRITTERS.

As a gardener, I LOVE Lenten Roses as it is a low maintenance plant. You only have to GIVE them an OPTIMUM dose of fertilizer and water. Boom, they’re good to go!

16. Lady Fern

Lady Fern

Lady Ferns are easy-to-CARE and SHADE-LOVING perennial flowers. People have been growing this plant for centuries.

They have delicate, lacy fronds up to 3 feet LONG and look GORGEOUS.

Lady Ferns grow well in SANDY or CLAY soil with good drainage. They’re HAPPIEST in USDA zones 4-8.

I’ve FOUND that you can provide them with LITTLE care. Give them regular water and fertilizer, and they are GOOD to go.

Plus, they’re IDEAL for low-light gardens that don’t receive full sun. 

17. Ligularia


Ligularia or Leopard Plant is a cool shade perennial native to East Asia!

They are VERSATILE in color, size, and shape. Some even have daisy-like flowers that are yellow, orange, or red!

This leopard plant can grow well in moisture and partial shade. So, plant it in the SHADE garden for the best growth.

Ligularia grows best in USDA zones 4-8 due to temperature requirements. You can grow outside the zones if you have similar environmental conditions.

Add it to your garden to make it UNIQUE and BEAUTIFUL.

18. Lamium


Lamium is a cool low-growing plant for shade gardens. They are a superb addition to your garden for elevated BEAUTY and COLORS.

This plant comes in various shapes and variations. However, pink, white, and purple flowers are the most common.

Native to Europe and Asia, Lamium likes MOIST soil and FULL shade. I like its utility as a great ground cover.

I PREFER Lamium due to its low-maintenance nature. Try Lamium to ADD a beautiful but HARDY shade plant to your garden. 

19. Primrose


Let’s TALK about the lovely primrose. It’s a shade plant NATIVE to Europe and Asia.

The flowers are PRETTY and COLORFUL. You can enjoy them in shades of yellow, pink, purple, and white. 

Primrose likes wet soil and partial shade. So it’s the BEST choice for SHADE gardens that need some color UPGRADE.

It can grow in dense shade in USDA zones 3-9. But it does NEED some love and care for growing in a full-shade garden.

I have LEARNED the hard way to REMOVE its deadhead old flowers. From my EXPERIENCE, it HELPS new ones GROW.

Just ENSURE giving it some FERTILIZER to keep it healthy and happy.

20. Solomon’s Seal

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal is a super cool plant that can add some PIZZAZZ to your garden. It’s a shade PERENNIAL plant with VARIATIONS in foliage color, shape, and variegation.

Its white bell-shaped flowers complement the plant’s long, green leaves. Solomon’s Seal THRIVES in wet SOIL and partial to full SHADE. So you got a beautiful baby plant right for your shady CORNER of the garden.

It grows BEST in USDA zones 3-9. Flowers are not the ONLY reason for their POPULARITY. It has medicinal properties in treating inflammation and joint pain.

Best of all, this beautiful foliage plant is SUPER easy to take care of with MINIMAL attention.

21. Spotted Deadnettles

Spotted Deadnettles

Spotted Deadnettles are a GREAT option for GARDENERS! They are originally from Europe and Western Asia.

Want to know the best thing about Spotted Deadnettles? Their leaves are available in various shades of white, green, and silver. 

They grow well in full shade and well-draining soil. Plus, these are early summer DEER RESISTANT plants. So don’t WORRY about them CHEWING on your plants.

I have found that Spotted Deadnettles require minimal care. It MEANS less work for you when being busy with other tasks!

They GROW best in hanging baskets or containers. Talk about VERSATILITY! 

22. Spiderwort


Spiderwort is a NATIVE shade plant in North America.  

They NEED shady spots with partial SHADE to full sun and well-draining SOIL. Plus, their super hardy nature helps them WITHSTAND droughts or wet soil.

The coolest thing about Spiderwort is its flowers. You can find them BEARING pink, purple, and bright blue FLOWERS.

Do you know what makes them UNIQUE? They only BLOOM in the MORNING sun and then close by AFTERNOON shade. You WON’T want to MISS seeing that!

The best part? Spiderwort is LOW-MAINTENANCE in full shade. It means you can use little effort to make your garden look fantastic.

23. Trillium


Trillium is a NATIVE plant in North America with various flower COLORS.

Provide them partial to full shade and well-draining SOIL. Keep in MIND that it’s a SLOW-GROWING plant. It can be established in a few years, so be patient!

Trillium has UNIQUE late-spring flowers. They COME in red, pink, and white flowers.

They also have a lovely scent to attract POLLINATORS.

From my experience, I’ve FOUND that Trillium is super easy to handle. But you better AVOID disturbing it once it’s ESTABLISHED.

24. Tiarella


Tiarella is a NATIVE plant in North America. It is a POPULAR choice among GARDENERS for its beauty.

Throw them to partial to full shade. These SHADE-LOVING perennial flowers are like well-draining soil.

Tiarella’s leaves are unique and look like FOAM. In the late spring, you can get colorful BLOOMS in pink and white shades.

It’s a versatile plant that unlocks many possibilities to GROW it. You can GROW in containers, earth pots, or hanging baskets.

Like Spiderwort, Tiarella is low-maintenance and can even SELF-SEED. Isn’t it a perfect ADDITION to a shady garden?

25. Viola


 This shade plant is a real GEM with many cool VARIETIES. Did you know that Viola is a flowering plant with over 500 species?

The COLORS of Viola flowers RANGE from pale to deep hues. They can have SINGLE or DOUBLE petals.

ENSURE to plant it in a sunny garden with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5. You can take care of its basic NEEDS, and it can BRIGHTEN your garden.

Viola is NATIVE to Europe and Asia. However, you can GROW it in USDA growing zones 4-9.

I RECOMMEND planting Viola in a very EARLY spring or LATE summer. Ensure to KEEP the soil moist and DEADHEAD the flowers regularly. 

FAQs about Perennial Flowers For Shade

1. What flower does not need a lot of sun?

The straight answer is shade-tolerant flowers. They are best for growing in the shade as their light requirements are much less. Some popular names in this category, from Hostas to Begonias. They can thrive in areas where other plants fail to grow.

2. What plants do well in shade and heat?

There are many plants with a tolerance to shade and hot climates. Shade perennials are best grown in the garden where other plants struggle to service. Some common examples are coleus, ferns, and hostas. You can give them adequate conditions to grow and survive.

3. Is there a perennial flower that blooms all summer?

Many shade perennial flowers can bloom all summer. A few examples include echinacea, coreopsis, and salvia. However, the flowering period can vary with variety, care, and external conditions. You can give optimum care for long-lasting and bright blooms.

4. What is the longest flowering perennial?

Purple coneflower is the longest-flowering perennial. You can enjoy its blooms for up to four months in the season. It bears pink, white, and purple blooms to add more colors to your garden. It can survive for years with proper care. 

What’s Next

So, that’s it, FOLKS! There is little to WRAP UP as you have already eye-gazed at some of the best perennial flowers.

These flowers demand SHADE and CARE for successful growth. You must give them WATER and FERTILIZER for healthy and colorful flowers.

So what are you waiting for? Select your best perennials and START planting! The REWARDING experience of GROWING these beauties is definitely WORTH it.

Hey, are your plants FEELING a little blue in the SHADE? No WORRIES; we’ve got you covered!

AsterGardening is the PERFECT for EXPERT advice and SOLUTIONS to all plant problems. Head over to our WEBSITE to give your garden the LOVE it deserves!

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Shaafay Zia

Hi, I'm a fellow green thumb who moonlight's as a writer. Gardening is something that brings me peace and I have been in the sport for many years now. With all of our expertise, we will always bring you the best content which will make you love your garden, even more.