Shade plants that bloom all summer

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. Here are our top picks for choosing garden plants that bloom in the shade, all summer long!

Geranium – 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.



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.



Spiderwort – Known for growing in almost any conditions, Spiderwort has strap like foliage and interesting flowers of white, pink or purple all summer.



This variety has bright green leaves and is called “Sweet Kate”. Great for brightening up a shady garden!



Hardy Fuchsia – 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 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!

Shade plants that bloom all summer


Impatiens No conversation about long blooming shade plants would be complete without talking about Impatiens. 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. While these are annuals and die back each winter, they perform better than any other flowering shade plant. 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!

Shade plants that bloom all summer


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: Bluestone, BHG, North Creek Nursery, Park Wholesale, BHG


  1. Annique May 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    My “Sweet Kate” spiderwort grows big and hearty in my full (very full) sun front yard.
    I’m in northeastern pa (zone 6).

    1. Lea September 28, 2016 at 7:27 am

      I have them too, dug them up from my daughters yard one year and now I have them everywhere. Didn’t know the name of them and really thought I pulled up some weeds. Now that I know they are a flower, I will be more gentle with them. I live in Central Florida ?
      They are very bright and a pretty color purple.

  2. Cindy Reynlds June 27, 2015 at 12:34 am

    My spiderwort and geraniums both only bloom in the spring….in fact the spiderwort dies back down to the ground after it is done blooming….doesn’t last but only 2-3 weeks….

  3. Jay burnett June 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    To me, selling spiderworts is a criminal act. They are like cuckoo birds, infiltrating the roots of everything in the garden, and almost impossible to ericate.

    1. Kathy Woodard June 21, 2016 at 12:27 pm

      Never heard that before, perhaps its a problem only in some parts of the country… Thx for the opinion!

    2. Amber H. July 24, 2016 at 7:00 am

      Same thing with Lily of the Valley and Snow on the Mountain!! ????

    3. Amy L Riggles July 29, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! They are so invasive. I live in WI zone 4

    4. Angela Michels September 29, 2016 at 11:17 pm

      That’s funny! I’m in zone 6 and can’t get my spiderwort to spread at all.

  4. Shirley Ross June 29, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I have many clematis plants that bloom in spring and early summer. Some are 20 yrs old and others are new. I lose a lot of flowers because I seem to have to reattach the vines to their trellises each spring and as a result break off parts of the vines. Does anyone have some tips for me on how to train or attach them to a trellis so this doesn’t happen? Several of my plants have very long vines even after trimming them to the ground several yrs ago.

  5. Heidi Webb July 4, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    I agree with Jay. Spiderweb is insidious!!! My neighbors had it in their garden and it has infiltrated my yard now. Between the cracks in my sidewalk, in my roses, along my back fence… you can’t just pull them either you have to get the roots. Not only that, if you rub up against the flowers, they stain purple anything they touch. Maybe if you put them in a 5-gallon bucket and bury that in your garden you can stop the encroachment if you really really want them… I would never advise anyone to plant them in their garden.

    1. Kathy Woodard September 8, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      I’d be interested in what part of the country you live in, it is definitely true what is a delight in some parts can be a devil plant in others!

    2. Laura April 24, 2017 at 4:37 am

      I’ve read spiderwort is aggressive if you spoil it with rich soil, fertilizer and supplemental water. Like many natives, it is best as a low care plant. I’ve planted spiderwort with other tough natives, hoping they fill out some. Time will tell.

  6. Cynthia Bell July 18, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    For several years I have had problems with impatiens. They would do well for several months, then mid to late July they started to get very thin and absolutely die back completely. I was told there was some kind of Midwest problem with them, so I have resorted to other plantings for my shade garden, using more begonias and caladium root plants.

  7. Bonita Loidolt August 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    These are lovely plants but I’ve already looked up many of these plants in other resources and their light requirements were listed as partial shade– between 2 and 4 hours of sunlight. I think one would have to sacrifice bloom and vigor in a full shade area so I hesitate to use them on the north side of my potting house.

  8. Cara September 22, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Spiderwort is a weed along all the roadsides here in northwest Indiana. My husband brought some home and I made him get rid of it lol.


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