Our favorite plants for shade gardens:
Hosta – Hostas are very popular shade garden plants, and for good reason! They are extremely hardy and easy to divide and transplant. There are hundreds of varieties of hostas on the market. They range in size from just a few inches tall to three feet tall. They come in all shades of green and blue-green, variegated or solid colors. Hostas are mainly grown for their attractive foliage, but do produce white or light pink flowers on a tall stalk held above the foliage.
Heuchera – Also known as coral bells or alumroot, heucheras provide lovely color to a shade garden. These perennials make great border plants as they are generally less than one foot tall. Heucheras have beautiful foliage ranging in color from deep purple to bright green and have pink flowers held on stalks above the foliage.
Hakonechloa macra – Hakonechloa, or Japanese forest grass, is a great ornamental grass for shady spots. The grass is available in light green to yellow, sometimes taking on red or purple hues in the fall. It generally grows to about 10” tall, but height varies with different varieties. Hakonechloa provides a nice soft, flowing texture in the garden.
Cimicifuga racemosa – Also known as black snakeroot, bugbane, or Actaea racemosa, these plants are a great shade plant to add height to a garden bed as they can get up to four feet tall. Cimicifuga comes in both green and purple foliage, with white flowers held above the foliage on tall stalks.
Astilbe – Astilbe is a nice, medium-height plant for shade beds. Though its foliage is not always terribly exciting, its flowers provide a beautiful pink, white, or red show in the summer. Astilbe are very hardy plants that can handle part sun and clay soils.
Bergenia cordifolia – Bergenia, also known as pigsqueak, is another shade plant grown for both its flowers and foliage. Bergenia has very thick, green, basal leaves and grows pink flowers held above the foliage on stalks. This plant can handle drought conditions and its foliage takes on a lovely fall color.
Pulmonaria – Also known as lungwort, this unique, spotted perennial makes a great addition to a garden border as it generally grows to less than one foot tall. The leaves of pulmonaria are green with white spots and covered in bristly hairs. The flowers range in color from light pink to purple.