31 Shade Loving Perennials To Brighten Up Shady Spots In Garden

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Are you wondering why plants cannot survive in the shaded parts of your garden? The reason could be that you planted sun-loving plants in these areas.

If this is the case, you are in luck since you can fix this problem by planting shade-loving perennials in these spots.

While many plants thrive in the full sun, there is an abundance of shade-loving perennials that can bring life and color to these darker areas of your garden.

Let’s explore 30 such shade-loving perennials that you should plant to transform your garden into a vibrant and welcoming sanctuary.

31 Shade Loving Perennials To Brighten Up Shady Spots In Garden

Shade Loving Perennials To Brighten Up Shady Spots In Garden

1. Hostas (Hosta spp.)

Shade-Loving Perennials to Brighten Up Your Garden

Hosta’s stunning foliage comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors. This means you can easily find the variety that best suits your garden’s aesthetics, allowing you to personalize your garden’s shaded areas.

This perennial can tolerate various shade levels, from dappled to deep shade.

Hardiness zones: 3-9

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2. Astilbe (Astilbe spp.)

Best shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden


Transform the shaded corners of your garden into lush displays of color with Astilbe’s feathery plumes of flowers and attractive foliage.

While Astilbes can tolerate dappled sunlight, they prefer consistent shade, so plant it in partial to full shade.

Hardiness zones: 3-9

3. Bleeding Heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

shade perennials to plant in garden


If you want to add beauty to your garden’s shaded areas with minimal effort, choose this generally low-maintenance perennial.

It has distinctive heart-shaped flowers, which hang gracefully from arching stems, resembling rows of delicate, pendulous jewelry.

Hardiness zones: 2-8

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4. Tree Peonies

Shade loving perennials

Tree peonies (Paeonia suffruticosa) thrive in dappled shade and prefer acidic to neutral soil. These deciduous shrubs are tougher than they look, requiring only regular watering and mulching for low maintenance. They produce large, ruffled flowers in mid-spring, with some varieties like ‘Pluto’ yielding numerous blossoms.

Hardiness zones: 4-9

5. Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.)

Low maintenance perennials for shade


This undemanding plant thrives in shaded conditions with well-drained soil and requires minimal care once established.

Since it is among the first perennials to bloom in the spring, it will provide your garden with a much-needed burst of color after the winter months.

Hardiness zones: 4-8

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6. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum spp.)

shade-loving flowering plants


Beautify the shaded parts of your garden and add tranquility to these spaces with Solomon’s Seal. This low-maintenance perennial thrives in shady conditions and well-drained, humus-rich soil. It stands out for its arching stems, bell-shaped flowers, and graceful foliage.

Hardiness zones: 3-8

7. Hellebore (Helleborus spp.)

shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden


There is plenty to love about Hellebores, from their exquisite blooms to evergreen foliage. These perennials are among the earliest to flower, typically from late winter to early spring, blooming for 8-10 weeks. Plant them in fully-shaded or partially-shaded areas.

Hardiness zones: 4-9

8. Coral Bells (Heuchera spp.)

Year round plants for shaded areas


You can easily add color and texture to shaded areas with Coral Bells thanks to its stunning semi-evergreen or evergreen foliage in a spectrum of colors, including shades of green, silver, bronze, and purple. These shaded areas will remain attractive even during the winter months.

Hardiness zones:  3-9

9. Foamflower (Tiarella spp.)

Foamflower perennial for shade


Pick a spot with moisture-retentive soil and dappled, partial, or complete shade for Foamflower. However, note that it can tolerate morning sunlight.

This perennial will help you create lively, vibrant areas with delicate, frothy blooms and striking foliage.

Hardiness zones: 3-8

10. Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

shade-loving flowering plants


The Bigleaf Hydrangea’s large, globe-shaped flower clusters can be blue, pink, purple, or even white, depending on the soil’s acidity.

This variety of colors allows you to create stunning visual displays in your shaded garden. Use it to brighten up spots that receive limited sunlight.

Hardiness zones: 5-11

11. Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra)

Small shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden


This perennial is perfect for shaded areas because of its soft, flowing appearance and adaptability to shady environments. It offers year-round visual appeal, with the leaves turning various red, burgundy, and orange hues in fall.

Hardiness zones: 5-9

12. Toad Lily (Tricyrtis spp.)

 shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden


Plant Toad Lily for mystery and charm in your garden’s shaded spots. This perennial has unique, captivating, orchid-like flowers.

This late bloomer will give your garden a burst of color and charm when many other plants are past their prime.

Hardiness zones: 4-9

13. Windflower (Anemone blanda)

Perennials for shade that bloom all summer


Your spring garden will burst with color when many other plants are still dormant if you plant Windflower.

It typically starts blooming in early to mid-spring with delicate, daisy-like flowers. Also, due to its naturalizing tendency, it can multiply and spread over time.

Hardiness zones: 5-8

14. Coleus (Plectranthus scutellarioides)

Tall perennials for shade that bloom all summer


If color and vibrancy are what you want for your shaded spots, you can never go wrong with Coleus. It comes in various shades, including every rainbow color, apart from true blue.

The colorful foliage provides continuous color throughout the growing season.

Hardiness zones: 10-11

15. Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus)

Annual shade flowers that bloom all summer

Are you looking for a focal point or conversation piece in your garden that will also brighten any dark spots? Persian Shield is perfect since bold colors and unique appearance naturally draw attention.

Hardiness zones: 10-11

16. Epimedium (Epimedium spp.)

Part sun part shade perennials


You can use Epimediums as ground cover in dry shade, forming a lush carpet of foliage and flowers that can help suppress weeds.

Its dainty and intricate flowers often resemble miniature orchids, while the foliage is unique and attractive.

Hardiness zones: 3-9

17. Goat’s Beard (Aruncus spp.)

Part sun part shade perennials that bloom all summer


Is the shaded area of your garden you wish to brighten up large? If so, Goat’s Beard’s impressive, feathery plumes of creamy-white flowers will help you do so.

These blooms will also create a stunning focal point in your shaded garden and add an air of grace and elegance.

Hardiness zones: 3-8

18. Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

low-maintenance perennials for shade


Prized for its mat-like growth habit and attractive foliage, Bugleweed can transform shaded areas, creating a dense, carpet-like coverage with stunning colors and texture. It will give your garden a lush, neat appearance and help suppress weeds.

Hardiness zones: 3-10

19. Wild Ginger (Asarum spp.)

low-maintenance perennials for shade deer resistant


Wild Ginger will flourish in the shaded to heavily shaded areas of your garden, transforming these spots into enchanting and naturalistic spaces.

While this perennial stands out for its deep green glossy foliage, it can also produce small, inconspicuous flowers.

Hardiness zones: 4-8

20. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)

Tall shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden


Instead of only brightening up your garden’s dark areas, why not turn them into a culinary zone? Chives have attractive foliage and produce small, edible, purple-pink flowers. You can also add chives to your dishes for a faint onion flavor.

Hardiness zones: 4-8

21. Common Periwinkle (Vinca minor)

Best shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden

This versatile, low-maintenance perennial isn’t picky regarding sunlight conditions. It flourishes in the shade or plenty of sun.

Let its evergreen foliage, striking blue or purple flowers, and robust ground-covering ability make your shaded spots lush, vibrant, and weed-free.

Hardiness zones: 4-8

22. Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum)

Shade-Loving Perennials to Brighten Up Your Garden


This shade-loving perennial boasts silvery, variegated fronds in a silver, green, and maroon coloring combination for an exquisite and unique appearance.

Combine it with other shade-tolerant plants to create visually interesting shaded spots.

Hardiness zones: 3-8

23. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)

Shade loving shrubs

You can enhance the overall aesthetics of shaded areas with this lovely, resilient perennial known for its elegant, lobed leaves and delicate, chartreuse-yellow flowers. Plant it alone or as an interesting textural contrast to other shade-loving plants.

Hardiness zones: 3-8

24. Bergenia (Bergenia spp.)

shade-loving flowering plants

Grow Bergenia for year-round interest and color in your semi-shaded and shaded garden areas. Its large, glossy, evergreen heart-shaped or rounded green, red, or even purple create a striking display. Spring paves the way for pink, red, or white flower spikes.

Hardiness zones: 4-10

25. Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium spp.)

quick growing shade-loving shrubs

This woodland-type wildflower produces charming, bell-shaped flowers in shades of blue, violet, or white in late spring to early summer, thus effortlessly brightening shaded areas.

Its finely divided and delicate-looking leaves, composed of numerous small leaflets, add to its appeal.

Hardiness zones: 4-9

26. Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)

shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden


Once established, Lenten Roses can live in your garden for over 20 years, providing continuous appeal to shaded areas.

This evergreen early bloomer’s striking feature is its downward-facing, saucer-shaped white, pink, purple, and even green flowers.

Hardiness zones: 4-9

27. Meadow Rue (Thalictrum spp.)

Small shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden


The most captivating aspect of this plant is its finely divided, fern-like leaves that are both graceful and elegant. It produces delicate cloud-like blooms in late spring and early summer, adding to its appeal.

Hardiness zones: 3-7

28. Golden Euonymus (Euonymus japonicus ‘Aureus’)

Year round plants for shaded areas

Plant the Golden Euonymus in the shaded areas for a yellow tinge in your garden. As an evergreen shrub, this plant keeps your garden lively throughout the year with golden-yellow and green variegated foliage.

Hardiness zones: 6-9

29. Spotted Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum)

Low maintenance year round plants for shaded areas


This perennial is best fitted for your garden’s dampest and darkest areas. It also excels as a ground cover, quickly spreading and forming a dense carpet of foliage, effectively suppressing weeds and providing visual interest.

Hardiness zones: 3-8

30. Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden

Pick this perennial for shaded areas to create a delightful atmosphere in your garden, stemming from its fragrant, bell-shaped flowers. Also, grow it for its dense, carpet-like ground cover.

Hardiness zones: 2-9

31. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Best shade loving perennials to brighten up shady spots in garden

This highly aromatic, upright, woody, low-growing perennial herb will fill your garden with a delightful fragrance. Thyme is a versatile plant that thrives in full sun but also does well in partial shade.

Hardiness zones: 5-9


The shady spots in your garden do not have to remain dull and lifeless when there are numerous shade-loving perennials that can bring elegance and beauty to these areas.

Transform these spaces into vibrant and colorful spaces with the shade-loving perennials listed above.

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