If you have a shaded garden, you may feel like your options for colorful, flowering plants are limited. However, there are actually many beautiful perennial flowers that thrive in partial or even full shade and can provide a burst of color throughout the growing season. From early spring to late fall, these plants will brighten up your shaded garden with their showy blooms. In this blog post, we will share a list of recommended flowering perennials for shade gardens. From delicate, bell-shaped flowers to showy, daisy-like blooms, these plants are sure to add interest and beauty to your shaded garden.
Perennial Flowers that will Bloom all Summer- in the Shade!
Summer is the perfect time to add some color and interest to your shaded garden with a variety of flowering perennials. From bold, showy blooms to delicate, graceful flowers, there are many options to choose from. In this section, we will highlight some of the best summer-blooming perennials for shaded gardens.
Geranium – Perfect Flower for Shade Gardens
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”. You can get “Rozanne” at Burpee. Its blooms are big and blue, and the plant grows to 20 inches. The common name for this perennial flower for shade is “Cranesbill”.
Astilbe – Shade Perennials That Are Repeat Bloomers
One of our favorite perennial flowers for shade 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 for this shade loving perennial is “Meadowsweet”. These plants are tough, but cannot handle drought. The “Younique” collection of Astilbe from ‘Burpee‘ are compact growing varieties with beautiful colors. They are also deer and rabbit resistant.
These popular flowering shrubs are known for their large, showy blooms that come in a range of colors including pink, blue, and white. Their sunlight requirements vary by growing zone. Where I live in zone 7, we have hydrangeas planted in full shade up against the North side of our house and they thrive in that location. That said, in a colder climate they won’t need as much shade. Here’s a good source to go more in depth on Hydrangea sunlight requirements. We also have a post to go over the basics of growing hydrangeas. As usual, always check growing recommendations specific to your zone!
Heuchera – Coral Bells
Heuchera is a hardy shade flower rich in foliage color, but that also offers spires of white, pink or red flowers throughout the summer. Massed in a group, these perennial flowers for shade seem to glow! And when not in bloom, the foliage is stunning. We like Heuchera “Paris” from ‘Burpee‘. Photo by Barnes Nursery UK.
This pretty summer bloomer is a relative of coral bells, and has gorgeous cut foliage as well. Heucherella is great in the South, as it is very heat and humidity resistant. We like “Pink Fizz“. Hardy in zones 4-9, this perennial flower for shade is deer resistant too! Photo by ‘NHHostas’.
Hostas- a must have for shaded gardens
Hostas are well loved for their grand, sometimes variegated leaves as well as their delicate little flowers that last from mid summer to fall. They are also an incredibly low maintenance perennial option for a shade garden. With one exception- don’t count on them lasting long if you tend to have rabbits and deer frequenting your yard- these visitors LOVE hostas.
Spiderwort – Perennial Flowers for Shade or Sun
Known for growing in almost any conditions, Spiderwort has strap like foliage and interesting flowers of white, pink or purple all summer. These summer blooming shade flowers are drought resistant and deer resistant. Because their blossoms are small in size, plant in groups for best effect. Hardy to zone 4.
This summer plant for shade has bright green leaves and is called “Sweet Kate”. Great purple perennial flower for brightening up a shady garden!
These tall, elegant plants are known for their tall spires of white or pink flowers that appear in the summer. As an added bonus, they will attract butterflies to your garden, but not deer or rabbits! Just keep in mind that most varieties have dark foliage, so they won’t make a big impact until they bloom in mid-summer. If you are considering this option for your shade garden, here’s some more information on how to care for them.
Hardy Fuchsias – Part Shade Perennials That Bloom All Summer
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 part shade perennial 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! You can find a beautiful variety valued “Grand Cape Horn” at ‘White Flower Farm‘.
Campanula (Bellflower) – Blue & Purple Perennial Flowers for Shade
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. These are truly perennial flowers for shade that will bloom ALL summer long! Our fav purple perennial is Siberian Campanula. It has a wonderful deep blue color with a white eye, and is very floriferous. This perennial flower for shade is hardy to zone 3. Find “Campanula” at White Flower Farm.
These elegant, late-blooming plants are known for their large, white or pink flowers that appear in the late summer or fall. They prefer partial shade, and will provide color in your shaded garden from the time their blooms arrive in mid to late summer all the way into fall. Gardenia has the most comprehensive information on these beauties, so check out their information if you’ll be including these in your shade garden!
Corydalis lutea – Yellow Summer Blooming Flowers for Shade
If you love bleeding heart in your spring garden, try “Yellow Fumitory”. This ferny shade loving flower has little yellow blooms from April through frost! Perfect for a woodland or cottage garden, this shade perennial flowers all summer, 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‘.
Asters- for any color you want to add to your shade garden!
These popular flowering plants are known for their showy, daisy-like flowers that come in a wide variety of shades of pinks, purples, blues and white. They prefer partial shade and can provide a burst of color in a shaded garden in the late summer or fall. Check out Almanac for all the Information you need to grow them successfully.
Lily of the Valley
Lily of the valley is a perennial plant known for its delicate, bell-shaped flowers that appear in the spring. These cute little blooms will last into early summer and will add a touch of grace to a shaded garden. Lily of the Valley prefers partial shade and spreads easily- great for ground cover (particularly the variety Convallaria majuscule ‘Greene.'” Check out The Spruce’s guide for more growing information on this cute little shade flower.
Ligularia for Mid to Late-Summer Shaded Blooms
Ligularia is a perennial plant known for its large, showy, yellow gold flowers that appear in summer or fall. Horticulture Magazine calls this a “Must have for the shade.” Some varieties have flowers that resemble the shape of a daisy or Black-eyed Susan, but one, aptly name “The Rocket” produce flowers on tall spikes as seen below.
Sedum- a flowering ground cover for shade
Consider the “Ternatum” variety of sedum for a ground cover option in a shaded garden. These low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants are known for their thick, succulent leaves and clusters of small, star-shaped flowers. They prefer partial shade and can provide a splash of color in a shaded garden in the late summer or fall. Check out our post on sedum projects and planter ideas, and you’ll see you can really have fun with these plants.
This perennial plant is known for its graceful, arching stems and clusters of small, bell shaped flowers that show up in summer. In fall, those little flowers turn into berries to continue bringing beauty to your shade garden. Check out Gardener’s World’s guide for more details about this hardy, low maintenance plant.
Tiarella features attractive, textured leaves and delicate, spike-like flowers. It prefers partial shade and can add texture and interest to a shaded garden. This flowering perennial is a great choice to get some color into your garden starting in spring and moving into the early summer months.
Spring blooming perennials for shade
I enjoy trying to have something blooming at all times throughout the growing season. So, here are some recommendations for spring blooming perennials to get a jump start on flower season in your shade garden. Remember, if you want the earliest blooms, fall garden maintenance and weed control are especially important!
Hellebores for the Earliest Blooms
Hellebores are for you if you get REALLY impatient waiting for those first blooms to show up after a long winter. In warmer zones, it’s usually still winter when hellebores bloom. In fact, I can think of a few Georgia friends who have posted pictures of their hellebores popping up as early as January!
These spring-blooming woodland plants produce large, three-petaled flowers in shades of white, pink, and red. They prefer dappled sunlight or partial shade and can be a striking addition to a shaded garden. Their bloom will appear in early spring in warmer climates but closer to late spring or summer
These low-growing, clump-forming plants produce delicate, colorful flowers that appear in the early to late spring depending on your zone. They prefer partial shade and are well-suited to a shaded garden.
Brunnera (False Forget-Me-Not)
Brunnera is a perennial plant known for its attractive, heart-shaped leaves and clusters of small, blue flowers. It prefers partial shade and can add texture and interest to a shaded garden.
Choose epimedium if you want to add some color around larger plants and trees, as they handle root competition. These low growing, clump-forming plants produce delicate, colorful flowers in the spring. Fine Gardening has an extensive guide on lots of varieties to consider.
Impatiens – Annuals and Perennials for Shade That Bloom All Summer
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 shade perennials.
The shade flowers we are talking about are 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. These shade loving flowers 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. They come in many colors, from neon brights to pastels. So use them the way they shine…in large drifts of all one color for a big, colorful impact in your shaded garden. You can find impatiens in packs of 3 plants at Burpee, in every color from deep red to apricot to pure white!
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 garden with perennials for shade that bloom all summer! PS- We think you will also love our posts on Low Water Drought Tolerant Perennials, Showy Shade Gardens and How to Plant Fantastic Flower Beds!
Thx for sharing on Gardening Week, DIY IdeaCenter!
besides impatients and fushia…..none of these bloom all summer long…..most are spring blooming plants and then they die back….
We have to disagree, at least in most areas… You may need to deadhead your plants more if they aren’t re-blooming for you!
I planted spiderwort 20 years ago near a big boulder that rose out of a ledge-y lawn area and it has been contained that way. Had heard about it being invasive. If this situation exists on your property, spiderwort is the perfect solution to bringing color to it. Don’t expect anything else to co-habitate with it though!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
You could try using twist ties (use 2 ties if necessary). Don’t over-twist. Pull a vine to where you want to start it and attach to trellis.
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.
Never heard that before, perhaps its a problem only in some parts of the country… Thx for the opinion!
Same thing with Lily of the Valley and Snow on the Mountain!! ????
I couldn’t agree more! They are so invasive. I live in WI zone 4
That’s funny! I’m in zone 6 and can’t get my spiderwort to spread at all.
I agree spiderwort is a horrible weed, it spreads like wild fire and roundup and our cold winters (down to minus 50 at times) will not even kill it..I had to hand dig it just like quack grass. It should be banned as it not only destroys your yard but your neighbors yard as well.
I have not found that at all. I have some in my rock garden and as all perrenials they do spread but I have not found it to be invasive
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….
My “Sweet Kate” spiderwort grows big and hearty in my full (very full) sun front yard.
I’m in northeastern pa (zone 6).
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.