Shade from house walls can mean either dry or
damp, depending upon which aspect of the wall. North facing will
be cold and often damp, whereas the South facing wall will
normally be dry - for summer at least.
For summer bedding plants, you
cannot beat the ordinary Busy Lizzie (Impatiens) for shaded
areas - and they don’t come much prettier than that.
Helleborus orientalis - Where I used to live, there is
a mature Cedar tree - under which is ‘permanent shade’- but
lightened up with a lovely selection of Helleborus orientalis.
The flowers start from February into March - just when you need
a bit of colour, after a long winter.
For dry shaded areas you can also try some of the Epimediums -
especially Epimedium perraldianum and also some of the Lamiums , (with
these you get the benefit of pretty flowers and also pretty leaves).
(L) are also suitable for a good flower show in the spring - followed by
spectacular foliage on some varieties. Liriope muscari and the Bergenias
will also do well.
Rhododendrons (M) and
Azaleas will also flourish if
allowed just a little dappled light.
Azalea mollis is a
fine deciduous Azalea for woodland
and shaded areas.
Eythronium - the Dogs Tooth Violet -
has a number of varieties which are
suitable for dry shaded areas. The
image above shows Erythronium
For damp shade areas, The King Cup (Calatha
palustris) makes a good show in the
early spring - so do some of the
primulas such as the new ‘Wanda’
types. Hostas of course - but do
watch out for slugs. Monardas
(Bergamots) are also worthy of a
place. If it is not too damp, then
the Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia)
is also a must. This will also do
quite well in a dry situation. For
something quite spectacular in early
spring, treat yourself to one of the
many Camellias .
Impatiens - the Busy Lizzies are amongst the best flowering
annuals for shaded places - even though normally planted in full
Begonias are happy in light shade, but will live ok in deep
shade - if kept watered. There is a wide range of begonias
available, from the normal fibrous rooted bedding plants to those
that are started from corms. All are happy in shaded garden spots.
Pansies and small flowered Violas are suited for light shade.
Polyanthus and others of the Primula family - especially the
Primula Wanda types.
Asters - the bedding types not the Michaelmas Daisies.
Antirrhinum are suited for dappled shade.
Nemesia will grow quite happy in shade.
Bellis Dasies will grow in shade if moist.
Diascia will tolerate light shade.
Perennial Plants for Shade
The herbaceous and other Perennials are the best range of plants for
shaded places in the garden. For many of them, it is their natural
habitat. Some will do equally well in full sun or quite heavy shade.
All of the hardy garden ferns
are also suited to varying degrees of shade.
In this group we will also list the few biennials that regularly
re-seed themselves, so for practical purposes can be classed as
perennials - even if not right botanically. The best example of which
being digitalis - Foxgloves.
Acaena - mainly for foliage - but some attractive flowers also -
Acanthus - Bear's Breeches for dappled shade - will withstand
Achillea millifolium types will grow in light dappled shade -
though prefer sun
Ajuga reptans - Bugle. The perennial ground coverer.
Alchemilla mollis the Ladies Mantle - Alchemilla alpina to a
Alstroemeria in light or dappled shade. The main problem being
their tendency to lean towards any light that is available.
Anemone blanda and Anemone sylvestris. The shorter japonicas
will also tolerate dappled shade.
Aquilegia are reasonable happy in light shade.
Arum italicum Marmoratum with its marbled leaves makes for good
Astilbes will grow in shade if dry soil - but sun if moist soil.
Astrantia is well suited to dappled shade.
Bergenia in light shade - kept moist.
Brunnera microphylla - a good stunning blue for light shade.
Campanula - especially Campanula lactiflora. The low growing
ones less so.
Centaurea Cornflowers in Light Shade.
Cimcifuga in light or dappled shade.
Convallaria - Lily of the Valley - Happy in a shaded spot - if
moist as well so much better.
Crocosmia are quite happy in light or dappled shade - dry at
Cyclamen hardy types such as Coum hybrids and C. hederifolium.
Dicentra - not just the Bleeding Heart, but there are good
foliage and flowering types that are happy in dry light shade - such
as Dicentra Luxuriant and Dicentra 'Stuart Boothman'.
Dictamnus is ok for light shade.
Digitalis - The Foxgloves are superb in dappled or light shade.
Doronicum - Leopard's Bane - is a good bright yellow for light
or dappled shade.
Epimediums are good in woodland type shade.
Eranthis give a good start to the year in light shade.
Erythronium - all varieties (There are many) are food in
woodland or other light shade.
Filipendula ulmaria and others in woodland shade.
Gentians are quite ok in light moist shade. Gentiana asclepiadea
almost anywhere but darkest areas.
Geraniums - Most are tolerant of shade - especially if on the
Hacquetia - different! Happy in partial shade.
Hedychium - in dappled or light shaded areas.
hellebores - Helleborus orientalis are happy in light or heavy
Hemerocallis will tolerate light woodland shade.
Heuchera - the group grows by the day it seems. All varieties ok
in dappled light shade.
Hostas - Go plant them but watch out for slugs. Dappled rather
than dense shade.
Leucojum vernum - The Spring Snowflake or Snowpake is a better
bet than snowdrops in shade.
Lysimachia especially L. punctata - happy in shade.
Meconopsis - not easy but worth it if you can grow. Woodland
Mimulus are fine in dappled light shade. Moist soil helps.
Muscari - superb in dappled shade.
Nepeta - all types happy in light shade.
Ophiopogon - the grass-like perennials are fine in light shade.
Penstemons are a good show of various colours in light or
Persicaria do well in woodland light shade.
Polemonium - Jacob's Ladder is good in dappled shade -
especially Polemonium pauciflorum.
Pulmonaria - but seems best if in moist soil.
Rogersia - Very happy in light or dappled shade - woodlands etc.
Rudbeckia fulgida Goldsturm, and others are happy in light
Saxifrages - especially the London Pride types are happy in
Schizostylis superb autumn flowers in light shade.
Sedum spectabilis types ok in light shade - woodland shrub
Smyrnium perfoliatum is a great woodland plant - or light
Symphytum especially tuberosum for ground cover and also Hidcote
Blue and Hidcote Pink.
Tiarella cordifolia. Good in light or dappled shade areas.
Tolmiea - The Pick a back plant - great in light, dappled, or
Trilliums all ok in light and dappled shade
Veronicastrum will be happy in woodland shade.
Shrubs for growing in shade conditions.
Berberis evergreen types are happy in dappled shade.
Choisya - all varieties
Cotoneasters of all types but low growing the best.
Daphne evergreen types.
Fatsia japonica - good in light shade.
Hydrangeas - the common mop-heads and lacecaps - but not the
paniculata or arborecens group. Hydrangea quercifolia does well!
Hypericums - rampant in light shade.
Jasminum nudiflorum the winter job with yellow flowers is happy
Kalmia latifiolia happy in acidic soil and shade.
Pholomis fruiticosa a good silvery foliage for light shade.