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 further. While these are annuals and die back each winter, they perform better than any other flowering shade plant. And they are perfect for a hanging basket on a shady porch. 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!