20 Perennials for Shade That Will Spruce Up Your Garden


Patriot is a cultivated variety of a hosta plant, and it has teardrop shaped, green leaves. The Missouri Botanical Garden says it tolerates heavy shade, but grows best in partial shade with some morning sun. The trick to keeping this leafy plant healthy is to keep the soil consistently moist.


The common name for this plant is “The Rocket,” but it’s also known as Ligularia. The nickname comes from its yellow flowers that shoot up from large green leaves. This perennial thrives in very wet and shady environments, so it’s perfect for those who live in dark rainy areas.

Bleeding Heart

Romance is in the air with these heart-shaped, colorful perennials that can grow in the shade. The Missouri Botanical Garden notes that these bloom in the late spring, grow 2 to 3 feet, and thrive in wet, shady soils. The dangling heart petals will make any shady yard look lovely, and butterflies love these flowers.

Lily of the Valley

These dainty white flowers with drooping bulbs can thrive in partial or full shade. They bloom in the spring, can tolerate many soil conditions, and can even be propagated in the fall. They are not fans of hot summers, so it’s the perfect flower for cooler climates and locations without a ton of sunlight.


This flower performs best with partial shade and sun, so it’s not the best option if your garden gets zero sunlight. The red and yellow petals add a pop of color to your yard, and may even attract hummingbirds. You don’t need to stress too much about watering these plants as they have a wide range of soil and water level tolerance.


Add some bright yellow to a dark garden with a batch of daffodils. These yellow and white flowers can grow in partial shade—they do well in full sun too—and are easily grown in average soil conditions. Daffodils require a bit of moisture but can tolerate a drought if necessary. Enjoy the colorful flowers when they bloom every spring and cut back the foliage when they begin to yellow for proper maintenance.

Japanese Painted Fern

This leafy plant can grow in full to partial shade and features soft green, silver, and maroon hues. Water it well so that the soil never dries out and it should grow 1 to 1 1/2 feet tall. You can enjoy this plant through the summer and autumn, and it will come back in the spring when planted properly.


Another leafy green plant that loves the shade, pachysandra can grow in full shade, but thrive with a bit of sun in partial shade. This shrub-like plant blooms in April, requires medium watering, and the Missouri Botanical Garden notes it’s rather low-maintenance.

Jack Frost Siberian Bugloss

The green, heart-shaped leaves with small, blue flowers of this plant will add some uniqueness and color to your garden. It can grow in partial shade, so just be sure it’s planted in a spot that gets a bit of light every now and then. The Jack Frost Siberian Bugloss can grow in USDA zones 3 to 8, but prefers cooler summers, so it thrives in zones 7 to 8.

Limelight Hydrangea

This is a cone-shaped perennial that grows in the summer and can bloom later in the season, so you can enjoy these flowers in autumn too. The cool-green blooms transform into a deeper pink and can grow to a height of eight to 10 feet, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. If you live in a city and want to brighten up a small outdoor space or patio, the Missouri Botanical Garden says this perennial thrives in urban settings.

Spanish Bluebell

The Spanish Bluebell is a plant that can thrive in partial shade with medium watering in sandy, well-drained soils. This plant’s blue, white, and lavender petals bloom in the spring and droop down with a bell shape that looks dainty and bright.

Raspberry Splash Lungwort

This perennial is perfect for a shady spot because it thrives in full shade and will go into dormancy if it’s too hot and dry. It can tolerate a bit of morning sun when the temperature is cooler, but needs shade for most of the day. This perennial has blotchy-looking leaves with bright raspberry-hued flowers (hence the name), and needs consistently moist soil, so be sure to water it and check that the soil never dries out.

Chocolate Chip Bugleweed

These little blue-violet flowers add a bit of color to a shady garden. They bloom May to June, and while they prefer moist soils, they can tolerate dry soils and withstand less watering. For the brightest petals, you’ll want to plant these somewhere that gets some sunlight, but the Chocolate Chip Bugleweed can survive in full shade.

Brunnera ‘Sea Heart’

These heart-shaped, silvery-green leaves can thrive in partial shade. Growing at about ½ foot to 2 feet, this perennial cannot tolerate dry soils—so you’ll have to be on top of watering it. The work will be worth it when you see the blue flowers that bloom in the spring.

Brilliance Autumn Fern

Another fern, this perennial is perfect for the autumn to add some greenery and life to your yard. These thrive in partial to full shade, prefer consistently moist soils, and can grow when the weather is a little chillier.

Aralia Cordata ‘Sun King’

The Aralia Cordata “Sun King” is more commonly known as Japanese Spikenard. This perennial grows best in partial shade, but it can survive in full sunlight or full shade (it’s an easygoing plant!). It has bright, green leaves with dainty, white flowers that bloom from spring to early fall.

Coral Bells

The Heucheras Amber Waves can tolerate sunlight, but loves shade. Its red, orange, and yellow leaves grow up to 1 foot tall and thrive in partial shade with medium watering. The Missouri Botanical Garden recommends removing the stems of faded petals to help new flowers bloom.


The Missouri Botanical Garden lists this as a tropical evergreen tender perennial that can grow in partial to full shade. It’s winter hardy in USDA zones 10 to 11 with bright red leaves that thrive in partial shade, but can tolerate full shade.


Brighten up your garden with shades of pink, red, and purple by growing these perennials. Commonly called lenten rose, this flower can grow in darker spots of your yard and needs medium watering. They are a late-winter blooming perennial, but it is suggested that you plant them in areas where they are protected from cold winds.

Sum & Substance Hosta

Another cultivar of Hosta, this leafy plant can grow in partial shade and up to 2 to 3 feet. It blooms in August, so it’s perfect for a full autumn garden. It’s a low-maintenance perennial that only calls for some watering at the root of the plant for evenly moist soil.

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