When the garden catalogs come out and the nurseries start stocking plants, gardeners start thinking about how to get the most bloom for their buck. That can be a really tough job when you have a shaded garden that needs some color. You don’t have to have an all foliage garden just because your garden is shaded, and you don’t have to settle for just a few weeks of bloom. Check out these summer blooming shade perennials.
Our Top Picks of Perennials For Shade That Bloom All Summer!
This is not your typical annual geranium that fills window boxes everywhere… in truth, those are Pelargoniums. True geraniums are a perennial that does well in partial shade, and blooms pink or blue all summer. In addition, many varieties’ foliage turns bronze or red in the fall. We love Geranium “Rozanne”. Its blooms are big and blue, and the plant grows to 20 inches. The common name for this plant is “Cranesbill”.
One of our favorite summer blooming shade perennials is Astilbe. Astilbe have foliage that is glossy and attractive, and bloom from late spring into summer. If you cut them back after blooming, they can bloom again. In pinks, purples and whites, they are a fluffy spire that can brighten any shady spot. They grow 18 inches wide and 18-24 inches tall, and are hardy to zone 4. Common name “Meadowsweet”. These plants are tough, but cannot handle drought. Keep soil moist and fertilize yearly for best bloom.
Known for growing in almost any conditions, Spiderwort has strap like foliage and interesting flowers of white, pink or purple all summer. These summer bloomers are drought resistant and deer resistant. Because their blossoms are small in size, plant in groups for best effect. Hardy to zone 4.
This variety has bright green leaves and is called “Sweet Kate”. Great for brightening up a shady garden!
There are several cultivars of hardy Fuchsias, which are just as beautiful as the basket variety, but usually larger and more up right. The most common variety grown in the Pacific NW is Fuchsia Magellanica. This Fuchsia is a shrub like plant covered with tubular blooms that hummingbirds LOVE, and blooms spring to first frost. Growing 6-10 feet high and as wide, it’s winter hardy down to zone 6, though it might die back during the coldest months. It will come alive again in spring!
Campanula has many different varieties, and are blue or white belled flowers in sizes from dwarf to several feet tall. They love partial shade and moderately moist soil, and will bloom June through frost. Our fav is Siberian Campanula. It has a wonderful deep blue color with a white eye, and is very floriferous. Hardy to zone 3.
If you love bleeding heart in your spring garden, try “Yellow Fumitory”. This ferny plant has little yellow flowers from April through frost! Perfect for a woodland or cottage garden, this shade perennial is hardy to zone 3, and prefers a cool spot on your garden away from afternoon sun. It is deer resistant and grows 8-18 inches tall. Photo by ‘Rotary Botanical Gardens‘.
No conversation about long blooming shade plants would be complete without talking about Impatiens. If you are looking for shade plants that bloom all summer, look no farther. While these are annuals and die back each winter, they perform better than any other flowering shade plant. So we just had to include them! Of course if you live in zone 9 or above, these can be grown as perennials.
There are two types, the one we are talking about is the bedding Impatiens, which are the kind you find in every nursery in six packs and lots of colors. They are tender, so be sure not to plant them too early…Wait until the soil starts to warm. Planting them when it’s still cold can stunt them. Also, they need moisture and are heavy feeders. Cut them back by a third if they start to get leggy, and give them a dose of liquid fertilizer. My favorite are white Impatiens, but they come in many colors, from neon brights to pastels. They, much like petunias and marigolds, have gotten a bad wrap by gardening snobs as being cliche, and boring. Any plant can be boring if you don’t use it properly. So use them the way they shine…in large drifts of all one color..and watch those snobs eat their words!
So don’t use your shady garden as an excuse not to have flowers in bloom all summer long. Pick one, two or all of these and create a shade garden that blooms all summer!Image Credits: Rotary Botanical Garden