Skip to Content

Flowering Perennials That Love Shade – How To Grow In The Shade With Big Color!

Looking for a few flowering perennials that love to grow in the shade and can add big color to your landscape?

Many gardeners struggle trying to bring color and texture to the the less-sunny areas of their landscape. For starters, shady areas can be difficult to get many common plant varieties established. In fact, if there is too much shade, it can be difficult to even get grass to grow and take hold.

All too often, these locations of a yard usually end up as an unsightly patch of bare soil – or covered up with an enormous amount of mulch that can be difficult and expensive to maintain.

shade loving perennials - astilbe
Astilbe is an excellent choice for bringing interest to a shady area. The perennial thrives in low light conditions – and when it blooms, it brings big flower power.

Although a lack of adequate sunlight can be an issue for many perennials in the landscape, there are plenty of shade loving perennials that flourish without having large amounts of direct sunlight. Even better, many of them produce gorgeous blooms that can add intense color.

Planting Perennials In The Shade – The Keys To Success

The first key to success when planting perennials in the shade is selecting the right variety for your specific location. That process begins by knowing just how much light the area you will be planting actually gets throughout the day.

Not all shade loving plants are the same. Likewise – not all “shady”areas get the same amount of light. Before heading to the nursery or selecting your plants, take a bit of time to watch the area throughout the day. See when the sun hits it, or if it hits it all. Knowing this can be a big key to success to select the right plants for your area.

Some shade loving plants, such as hostas, can handle a few hours of morning or evening sunlight. Others, like coral bells, can even handle a few hours of mid-day sun as well as long as they get shade at other times.

With that in mind, here is a look at five flowering perennials that love to grow in the shade, including the light requirements for each.

timg podcast banner 23

5 Flowering Perennials That Love Shade!


Astilbe (pictured at the top of the article) thrives in moist and shady areas. It is the perfect choice for flowerbeds that receive all types of light. They can handle a wide range of low-light conditions, from partial shade to full shade.

The plant has stunning, glossy, fern-like foliage that provides plenty of interest all on its own. But when its colorful plumes of blooms shoot into the air in mid-summer, the plant really comes to life!

Although large, the gorgeous flowers do not require staking as they grow on stiff stems. And as a bonus, the blooms hold their color for months! Even better, deer tend to leave the plant alone, making it great for the edges of wooded areas too.

They are versatile in size, ranging from tiny dwarfs to large, oversized hybrids. Astilbe can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, from more fertile loam to harder, clay-like soil. Most varieties are winter hardy from growing zones four through eight.

Coral Bells – Perennials That Love Shade

Coral Bells, also known as alum root, are another terrific option when looking for a blooming and colorful shade loving perennial. Their unique and dramatic foliage provide a variety of colors to spruce up shady beds.

coral bell - shade loving plant
Coral bells can add colorful foliage and blooms to shady areas.

The low-growing leaves can range from green to dark purple in color. Coral Bells’ foliage can also be found with a wide range of variegated patterns, bringing even more interest to bed spaces.

Coral Bells produce delicate flower spikes at the top of thin, wiry stems. The blooms are long-lasting and quite delicate looking, but hold strong the the plant. Hummingbirds love these blooms and will visit the plants often.

Liriope – Perennials That Love Shade

Liriope is a wonderful choice for both shade and semi-shady areas. It is extremely shade tolerant and can grow in extremely low light conditions – or handle full sun if need be!

It makes an excellent ground cover or border plant, growing much as an ornamental grass would. Liriope forms grows in small clumps, reaching heights of six to twelve inches. It spreads slowly to fill in border areas and is extremely hardy.

In the spring and summer, it provides thick foliage,. But in early to mid fall, liriope flowers with shoots of blue, white or purple depending on the variety. Late in the fall, they also produce small berries that can help feed wildlife through the winter.

With its thick foliage and low growing pattern, liriope is the perfect border plant. In the fall, they also light up the landscape with their petite but colorful blooms.

Hosta – How To Grow In The Shade

The Hosta is the king of the road when it comes to shade loving plants. In fact, nearly all varieties of hosta plants thrive in low sunlight. Even better, they come in all shades of beautiful greens, blues, and even whites. And many varieties are variegated, adding even more interest to their leafy foliage!

A hosta plant’s lush leaf structure can spread out over a large area, making it a perfect choice for planting under shade trees or close to the house. (See: 5 Unique Hostas To Grow In Your Flowerbeds – Add Big Color, Beauty & Interest!)

They can also be divided and transplanted easily in the early spring to help fill large areas while not breaking the bank! One word of caution when it comes to hostas, deer love them! They are certainly not the best choice if deer are frequent visitors to your yard.

perennials that love shade
Hostas are one of the best perennial plants of all for bringing color and texture to shady areas!

Oakleaf Hydrangeas – Perennials That Love Shade

Oakleaf Hydrangeas have big, thick flowers that form in clusters, The Oakleaf is actually a shrub, and provides year-round interest to the landscape.

Most Hydrangeas can handle a touch of sun. Morning sun is the most gentle and will not disturb their growth or blooming habits. They come in all sizes, from dwarf varieties for containers, to large 8 foot and up hedge line shrubs.

One thing is for sure, hydrangeas can certainly create a large and colorful point of interest for a shady spot! (Product Link : Snow Queen Oak Leaf Hydrangea)

If you have a few shady areas of your yard that have been neglected, how about trying some great shade-loving perennials this year to add a little color and interest.

This Is My Garden is a garden website created by gardeners, for gardeners. We publish two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. Sign up today to follow via email, or follow along on Facebook here : This Is My Garden. This article may contain affiliate links.