What perennial flowers for partly sunny to shady area?

knight2255August 8, 2012

Have an area that gets 2-3 hours of morning sun and then shade for rest of day.

What are some perennial flowers I can put in this spot?

I'm also looking to put stuff in that will bloom at different times of the year so that there will always be something nice to look at.


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Most of the shade plants that do well here have small, delicate flowers and are spring ephemerals, like toad lily and bleeding hearts. Begonia and Impatiens provide a lot of blooms, but aren't perennial. Impatiens are easy to save seed from, though.

Maybe some larger plants with striking foliage like hostas and japanese painted ferns could make up the bulk of the bed, and then add the blooming plants for effect?

Some more ideas:
vinca minor and major
chrysogonum viginianum
coral bells

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 4:48PM
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In addition to those suggested, one of my favorites...Hellebores (lenten roses) which can start blooming in late winter and go thru spring/early summer or heucheras which come in a variety of foliage colors and have somewhat of a 'bloom'.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Echinaceas and Rudbeckia Goldsturm will bloom in part shade, though not as prolifically as in 6 or more hrs of full sun. Other possibilities are Belamcanda chinensis, Bletilla striata, Anemones, Aconitums and Hydrangeas (shrubs)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 10:25AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Depending on which part of Alabama you're in, Pentas would probably be ideal for the location unless it's heavy shade. Pentas, usually thought of as an annual, is really a tender perennial and can live for quite a long time in warmer climates.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2012 at 3:50PM
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tedevore(7b Al)

Begonia grandis is a hardy begonia that does come back and is nice in the shade.
Another nice native that does well in different light conditions is indian pink
(spigelia marilandica.) There are lots of ferns, elephant ears, etc. that have colorful foliage also that last a lot longer than flowers do.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2012 at 12:26PM
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Strawberry oxalis is a great shade and sun perennial.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 9:50AM
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the bed pictured below receives similar lighting to what you describe. it is beneath a cedar tree. it gets only early morning sun coming from the exposed eastern side, maybe 3 hours, then bright, filtered light throughout the day. as you can see, many typical shade lovers such as hosta, hydrangeas, tiarella, japanese painted fern, bleeding heart, columbine and annuals such as impatiens and begonia are happy there but others considered sun lovers bloomed reasonably well there, too. daylilly and nicotiana can be seen. there is even an amaryllis blooming beside the trunk of the tree. i am a big fan of quality foliage plants and all shades of green. that can be just as attractive as colored flowers to me. i have a ground cover that you can't see near the tree that is evergreen and quite beautiful. it is called asarum (now hexastylis, i think) splendens (pictured separately).
as rhizo mentions, light shade or high shifting shade accomodates more flowering plants than heavy shade.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:28AM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

Beautiful! Yes I love that Ginger...its a real show stopper in winter. So many of my plants give up in the heat no matter how much I water, though. Hardy begonia is great too.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:51AM
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Absolutely stunning. I have a pine tree grove with one persimmon tree and one small cedar. I truly could try this. Scared too but I could try. Thanks for posting the picture.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 8:16PM
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squirrellypete(z7b AL)

I agree with jeff_al (beautiful garden bed by the way!). You would be surprised at how many so-called "sun" perennials do well in shadier spots. Especially in the South where hot temps can be brutal on even hardy perennials. They may not flower in shade as much as if they received 6-8 hours of sun but they still often do bloom dependably and brighten up shady beds. Darker daylilies in particular benefit from some shade because in the sun on hot afternoons the bloom's texture and color often "melt" into a different sun-scorched color. I have darker maroons and purples planted in a shade bed and though they don't bloom as profusely as the field daylilies, the blooms themselves are much more pristine and the foliage seems happier not getting so scorched.

I also second the recommendations of Hydrangea, Hellebores (Lenten Rose -- mine is blooming right now and gets full shade), and colorful foliage plants such as Heuchera and Hosta, though there are many other kinds. I used to HATE foliage plants....I was a flower-snob as a teenager just getting into gardening. After a couple of years in my own home I soon learned the value and beauty of colorful foliage as a typically seasonally longer-lasting alternative to flowers.

Good luck with your shady spot.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 9:23PM
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What is the plant in front, to the left of the rock?

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:33AM
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it was a tree peony. paeonia suffruticosa 'kamata nishiki'
what large, beautiful flowers it had

unfortunately, it just never did much and languished for a few years (probably due to our summer heat and lack of winter chill period) until i took it out. it produced one or two flowers each year about 7" wide with a lemon fragrance and a satin crape paper texture.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:46AM
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Jeff just showed us a perfect example of how truly BEAUTIFUL a shade garden can be! Working for a local nursery, I often suggest these very plants...ALAS!...so many people are like Squirrellypete used to be...they only want big fat flowers and lots of them!..perhaps i should keep a pic of Jeffs garden in my back pocket..HA!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2013 at 11:02AM
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