Looking to accent the shady areas of your garden or outdoor landscape this summer? There are several shade-loving plants — both annual and perennial, as well as flowering and non-flowering — to consider. They come in a variety of sizes and textures, and all thrive in dark and moist conditions. Here are my picks for the ten best shade-loving plants that are sure to add interest and beauty to those low-light areas of your yard.
10 Best Shade-Loving Plants
Native and zone hardy ferns lend a natural appeal to shade garden and woodland areas. Ferns are naturally very disease and pest resistant and require very little care. There are many varieties to choose from such as the Maiden hair fern which is light and wispy to the Cinnamon fern with a rusty brown hue.
Lily of the Valley
Although these shade-loving plants only flower for a few weeks early in the season, they are well worth the effort. The small, fragrant, white, bell-shaped flowers are dainty and a seasonal delight.
The trailing version of this shade-happy annual produces small, dense, deep blue flowers that bloom throughout the summer add a pop of rich color to darker areas.
A colorful annual accent to shade gardens, these flowering plants can be found in red, white, and pink.
An evergreen groundcover, this plant produces small green leaves that resemble ivy with little blue flowers. Fast growing and hardy, it thrives in almost all soil types.
A low growing annual plant that also sports beautiful tiny blue flowers and thrives in damp conditions
Begonias have beautiful foliage. An annual with heavy, crinkly, textured leaves in dark maroon and green hues and periodic flowers, they are right at home in any shady area.
Hosta plants consist of healthy green leaves that grow close together in bunches with shoots that flower in white bell shapes. These traditional shade-loving plants come in a variety of sizes and hues — including variegated species.
A Victorian favorite — delicate, beautiful, and romantic — bleeding hearts hang from vine-like leaves. The heart colors come in shades of light pink, white, and fuchsia.
North American Bee Balm
This perennial plant can grow up to a few feet tall, and has a pleasant smell and clusters of red flowers that attract bees and butterflies.
What are your favorite shade-loving plants? Let us know in the comments!
This post was first published in 2013 and has been updated.