I'm just curious what everyone thinks is the best shade flower? I know this is a somewhat broad question but I'm really curious....=-)
Irish, I would venture to guess it would depend upon, how much shade, dappled shade, or oodles of shade one has??? Ramblin' Rose
Hosta & Bleeding Hearts.
Irish, this is a little like having to say which is your favorite child!! I love all my shade plants, but I guess the most special to me are the ones that are most rare or difficult--a yellow ladyslipper and double bloodroot.
Since you didn't ask for favorite, I don't have to think so hard. I would say hosta is the best, since there are so many to choose from and there are ones for different levels of shade. I don't think they will take to where it's extremely dry however.
Since you didn't specify moist or dry shade, I'll try to answer as best I can.
Constant moist shade provides beautiful primroses, violets, bergenia, azalea & rhododenrodens, just to name a few.
Dry shade is definitely more challenging. I like epimediums and some ornamental grasses such as "Karl Forrester".
I like the challenge of creating beds in the shade because it gives a whole other dimension to my garden.
Well, I'll just tell you what my favorite is, since I'm no expert... Old Fashioned Pink Bleedinghearts. :) I just love 'em :)
Hey, nobody has mentioned Lungwort yet - I just love it. I know it's low growing, but it has the most prettiest pink/blue/purple bell flowers on a varigated leaf. And it seems to do well in shady dry and moist conditions. Some of those others that were suggested just don't do well in dry situations which I have mostly. Primrose and violets are my next favorite, but don't last near as long. Hostas are great in the right conditions - but not in a dry bed. Been there lots of times - still trying to get it right.
I like the lungworts a lot too. My current pick would be Jacob's ladder since it has just given me several weeks of glorious blue blossoms....of course the stylophorum by it was a real winner too...and it is still flowering. Come to think of it, those tiarella look pretty good, but they were pretty ratty last summer.
OK ok, how about some favorite combinations?
Whiteorchid:what do you pair your bleeding hearts with?
Lenten Rose (Helebores) are one of my favorites. They bloom in February and are still blooming now.
Lots of Impatients.
Brunfelsia and Fushia. The brunfelsia thrives in dark shade and needs lots of fertilizer. I live in Southern California and mine is doing great! (I just bought another)
I pair my bleedinghearts with hosta and, hehe, I forgot there were daylillies there, so right now , daylillies. The lillies might have to be moved, though. Unless I decide I like pink and orange together.... I've been thinking a small fern and some native orchids would look nice with my bleedingheart and hosta. What do you think?
I also planted sweet william seed in front of my bleedingheart. If I don't like it, I won't let them go to seed. Heh, my garden is constantly changing. ;)
I like wishbone flowers, Torenias. They're annuals but have a nice old-fashioned look.
For deep shade, I love the yellow celadine poppy and solomon's seal.
I'd have to agree with rj1500, Hellebores. Purple or green varieties. Incomparable flowers that tend to bloom longer than usually noted with foliage that just looks so natural and native in the shade. Also, gotta have at least one hydrangea in the northern exposure.
I love the Rocket and Bigleaf GOldenray, Pulmonaria, Brunnera, Perennial Begonia, Virginia Bluebells, and bleeding hearts..but I would love to find a flower that blooms in the summer
I like to pair the bleedings hearts with pink and white impatiens. Lungwort is also a favorite. I think I have Mrs. Moon, it's been here at this house for 25 years.
I've only recently started with hostas - the deer have been a big problem.
Nobody has even mentioned columbine! They take time, but plant the species to get a drift, or one of the hybrids for gorgeous colors. This includes true columbine (aquilegea) which grows in mediurm shade, and thalictrum, which will grow in deep shade.
Something often overlooked -- columbine and especially thalictrum feels really nice when you brush up against it, so it is doubly good by a path or where people walk.
Also we should mention foamflower, which I like.
what about astillbe
Yes, I love astillbe. I have one called "supurba". It gets to four feet tall and blooms in summer. It looks so neat.
Masonbarge, you are so right, Thalictrum is so dreamy, it grows to over 6 feet at my friends woods, and when you walk by it it's very soft. The foliage is really something to think about. Thalictrum has such graceful foliage, with the softest color, lovely. Even the way it moves in the wind is perfect. Another favorite for deep shade, moist, is Blue Cohosh. It's leaves are similar to columbine/thalictrum. Beautiful sky-blue berries in the fall. An annual to try is coleus, if you like magentas/light greens. Very pretty. Foamflower is wonderful as well. Have fun!
I've had tremendous success with hostas, although there have been times the deer have gotten to them and also slugs. The shallow plates of beer do help drown the slugs! Often, I have no trouble at all. My shade is moist, so the hostas do well with little effort. I've also had good results with astillbe, day lillies and violets. I really want to add to the astillbe...colors and varieties. I always plant impatients and begonias for annuals. Have you tried the New Guinea Impatients? They have deep red stems and leaves and are more lush looking than the usual variety...kind of tropical and the flowers themselves are bigger. Of course,in NJ,all impatiens are annuals, but the New Guinea bloom all summer like the regular impatients and add texture as well as color in the shade. Again, this is moist shade. I very much want to try primroses. I did well with a small bed of them with astibille behind them. They came back two years running...then disappeared. I think the spring clean-up men I hired might have torn them up. This is always a problem if I forget to give explicit instructions. I'm not sure. In dappled shade, one clump of miniature pansies I planted six years ago keeps coming back every year. I do absolutely nothing,accept regular fertilizing, so I'm not sure if they are a good choice for dappled shade or just a weird deviation in my garden. LOL I've planted a few other miniature pansies in the same area and they have not done as well. Strange happenings sometimes. I also have lillies of the valley which come up earlier in the spring, before the trees do their job of making dense shade in most of my garden. I've had success with bleeding hearts too, and also morning glories in part shade along the railing up my front walkway where I get some sun. The day lillies do great, but mine are getting impacted now and I really need to separate them if they are to last! Bulbs are great for early spring before the foliage gets to thick....daffodils and tulips, hyacinth too. I cut them back and then put in my annuals over them for the June through summer months. Has anyone tried coleus for partial shade? The leaves come in so many varied colors...light greens with pinks to oranges, yellow-greens mixed with dark green and white. The edges of the leaves are ruffled and they almost look like flowers and get quite big. They really add color and keep growing all summer. I'd like to enrich my summer perennials for shaded areas..the spring is so much easier. There is always more to learn!
Lily-of-the-valley...lily-of-the-valley....lily-of-the-valley...etc. They are so lovely! Smell so wonderful! And don't need a bunch of care. Weed and water...fills in so nicely.
I planted day lilies last year and had some lovely blooms last year. This year they went nuts and I've got bunches and bunches of new babies all around the main plants.
We had a really strange winter, (zone 5ish) in west central Illinois. Perhaps it helped. I dunno...but all my bulbs (tulips and daffs) put on a spectacular show and are still blooming.
Did I mention my favorite shady flower is Lily of the Valley???
I have a rather electic shade garden....and it is in shade most of the spring,summer & fall. At the back of the bed, I have bleeding hearts ...then coleuses...then astilbes (double row planted close together -lovely in summer)then my medium sized variegated leaf hostas and last but not least dwarf impatients of all colours. I have colour in the garden from Spring to Fall.
Irish, No one seems to have mentioned my favorite summer shade flower- Balsam or Touch me nots. The seed pods POP open when ripe. THey are anuuals but reseed strongly. I prefer the doubles- They come in pinks creams red roses and purples and lavenders. They do not like to dry out.I loved popping the seed pods as a kid ( OK I still DO!)
What a lot of good suggestions for shade gardening. I have a large shade garden full of hostas,pulmonarias,astilbes,lamiums,solomon's seal,bleeding heart,toad lilies,and impatiens for color.Coleus do well also and no one mentioned caladiums especially the white and green ones which add a dramatic affect in the shade. White violets can be a nuisance but do look lovely with tulips and daffodils and the blue mertensia in early spring. I noticed today my jack in the pulpit is coming up also in the shade garden. I look forward to hearing more wonderful suggestions. Growlove
I discovered hardy begonia at my local nursery last year and they bloomed beautifully all summer and are coming back up again in my shade garden.
I've got red and white bleeding hearts, lilies-of-the-valley, white (with a little purple center) violets, a rhodadendron -white with rusty red centers, and I just put in some white climbing hydrangea I found at the store that said it was partial shade. I am experiemnting with sweet peas, which seem to grow like weeds all over here, and corsician mint and irish moss. The sweet peas are growing, although slowly and they don't appear to be as strong as normal. The mint and irish moss are doing well so far. I'd like to try some hostas and I'll be planting some forget-me-not seeds and some (begonia bulbs? I think is what they are called), too. I also have the occasional columbine and Californian poppy coming up in areas that are wetter or have dabbled light.
Have fun in the shade!
oh boy such a difficult answer. I tend to choose according to foliage primarily since nothing blooms long enough for me. great foliage with great flowers as well are: Lamium (dead nettle-'silver beacon') has pink flowers and light blue green leaves edged in darker green-love it plus i can prune them and just stick the stems in the soil and they take to the soil so nicely but don't run rampant. pulmonaria has very vivid flower colors and those leaves are speckled. love true geranium(cranesbill)-the flowers are delicate and the leaves are palmate and look great by large flat hosta leaves or japanese maple since they mimmick the leaf shape of the maple. Columbine has such unique flowers and the leaves are so pretty as they open and catch the rain or dew...but to decide the best or my favorite-it's simply impossible : )
Although we have 70 acres of woods Im just starting a woodland garden. Ive planted hostas, azealas, a japanese maple, toad lilies, I have one huge coleus that I hope to overwinter in a friends greenhouse. I have hundreds of hybrid daffadils planted here and have just started transplanting left over tulips to the area. I also have Houtenia in a hosta bed that is taking over so it will go to the wooded area soon as a ground cover around the daffadils so that the blades of the yellowing daffadils will be somewhat hidden after bloom. I have a foam flower that is 5 years old and has never got above 2 ft and never bloomed, any ideas on it? My wooded area is high shade and on a northern slope so I guess it would be considered dry shade. Im new to this forum and look forward to future conversations and ideas.
When people are mentioning Day Lilies, do you mean those orange lilies with tons of thin tall leaves, or are there actually pink or white ones that will actually bloom in a SHADY, WET bed.
I have pink bleeding heart and lily of the valley that do GREAT there now. Tried Foxgloves and hoping they will bloom this year or next. Very wet, though, so who knows.
We get dappled shade most of the day and two plants we have had success with are brugmansia and abutilon. Both flowered their heads off!!
If you have a fairly shaded place where you want FANTASTIC FLOWERS all summer you can not beat the TUBEROUS BEOGNIA. A lot of people say it is difficult to grow and require a lot of care, which is probably right, but you can not beat the flowering. It is fantastic.
Nobody has mentioned red turk's cap, malvaviscus drummondii. It blooms all summer long in the shade, including the very deep shade created by live oaks, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies with its nectar. It isn't hurt by droughts, floods, insects or diseases, and deer apparently don't like it, at least they've ignored mine even though they eat other plants all around it. A light freeze, or maybe even temperatures in the thirtys, kills the top growth back every year, so it never gets too big here, since it has to start all over every spring. I would expect it to get very large in frost free areas, however.
I can't think of anything else that blooms as reliably and as long as turk's cap does in the shade.
For a perennial, I've got to go with the stunning, electric blue spikes of lobelia siphilitica.
Fuchsia and torenia are tied for my fav. shade annual. Both because of constant, extended, reliable blooming qualities. However, caladium foliage is the real winner for just plain "wow", especially from any distance.
I absolutely love Siberian Bugloss/Brunnera macrophlya for it's lovely foliage and forget-me-not blue flowers. Another good plant is Lady's Mantle/Alchemilla A. mollis. But... my most favorite flower is Anemone nemorosa which is one of the earliest Spring bloomers in my shade garden.
Lady's mantle, forget-me-nots, astilbe, bleeding hearts, campanula, columbine, primroses, violets, penstemon, jacob's ladder, dame's rocket, ranunculus, carex, hosta, Siberian iris, toad lilies, blue fescue, ajuga, caladiums and tuberous begonias---and the list goes on! (This is my garden in progress, many more plants to acquire!) Clearly I have come to love gardening in the shade. Deb
For late summer/early fall color in the shade, it's hard to beat japanese anemones, "Anemone japonica". Also great is a little used campanula, "Capanula primulifolia". It makes 2 feet tall spires of beautiful violet/blue flowers Aug - Sept. As a bonus, the foliage is an attractive rosette of primrose like leaves, and it self-sows like crazy.
Here is a link that might be useful: Campanula primulifolia
this is so sad. Isn't this thread supposed to be a part of the native plants thread of the forums and how many native plants were mentioned? Very few I am afraid. great native plants that are good for shade or partial shade in our area are zigzag goldenrod, wild lily of the valley and of course ferns including Lady,Sensitive,Cinnamon and Maidenhair rank tops on my list. Agastache are wonderful to have in partial shade and have an added benefit in that deer are not fond of them. Excuse me while I go re-peanutbutter my single strand electric deer fence and give my golden retriever an extra biscuit for a job well done
Impatiens, ferns and hostas. Nothing too exotic or difficult, but pretty and easy. If the bed is dry, remember they all like a little water. Good luck.
I discovered to my great delight that spiderwort will bloom and spread in total deep shade on the north side of my house! It is moist shade.
Thanks to all the writers for great inspiration for my newly planted shade garden - it's actually a pathway!(on the west side of the house). I have planted hosta, ferns and I'm thinking of heuchera (coral bells) too. Do they do well in shade, does anybody know what they prefer?
Also bergenia, what do they prefer - sun or shade? Right now I have some planted in a sunny spot and they seem fine.
Trachelospermum jasminoides, star jasmine -- an evergreen groundcover out here, tough and dependable, with a honey-like fragrance that's irresistible!
And I love the variegated leaf New Guinea impatiens -- hard to find, but such brilliant flowers and incredible foliage.
Living in Oakville, Ontario (where our summers are short but sweet) I love to experiment each year by planting a part-shade garden with annuals: begonias and coleus. I use mostly bronze leaved begonias (in different coloured flowers - pink, red, orange and white) mixed in with coleus in all shades - my favourites this year are a huge burgundy coleus with varigations of peach on the leaf, and ruffled bright pink ones with lime green tracing the edges - maybe not a flower, per se, but it can rival any flower in my garden for colour. Of course, I mix and match for the best look and it's all great fun!
Thanks SweetIrish for asking this question - many nice suggestions, some plants though I don't know and will have to look up. But I too need plants for a few areas around my yard that are shady.
Great ideas everyone thanks!
Coral Bells will do well in the shade. I have mine where it gets a little indirect morning sun but that is about it.
My coralbells and bergenia like parttime shade. I love tiarella, toadlily and solomon's seal. My jacob's ladder was fabulous this year! You just can't beat lungwort either! Have fun!
I just adore monkshood and rodgersia.
But oh my, I have to mention Japanese bluebells and blue corydalis too.
And Bleeding Heart is so pretty, as are the varigated brunneras...
Okay, I have to stop now or I'll have to give a full inventory!
Begonias, begonias, begonias.. They have these HUGE flowers all the time in a variety of colors that you just don't see in shade. They have grown in my shade bed without any problem - after continous rain in clay soils, slugs, just plain neglect by me.. I love hostas and coleus, but I consider them foliage plants as I remove their flowers.
Stylophorum- celendine or wood poppy still blooming! Also I'd vote for aruncus.- Geri
I just planted astilbe this year. Bloomed beautifully then just died. All the leaves turned brown. Is this normal? Will it come back next year?
My little shade garden consists of hostas, ferns, heucheras, begonias, coleus, and I LOVE my "ginger"...Asarum Splendens...it has done wonderfully!
A splash of hot pink impatiens, and I'm SET!
Hi I know astillbe likes shade but would complete shade be ok for them?
Wow!! I had no idea there were so many choices of such beautiful flowers that would survive in the shade. Thanks so much. I have always loved bleeding heart but have never been able to grow it because I thought they liked sun. Now, with all these choices I will go crazy deciding which ones to plant. Thanks everyone!! :)
While someone mentioned Lobelia syphilitica I would nominate Lobelia cardinalis. I have about 50 plants blooming right now and there is no plant any prettier anywhere. If you could only see them. One thing though they need to have wet feet so must water when we have droughts and we do often here in Alabama.
For tall shade blooms try Spigelia marilandica, various Ligularias and Cimicifugas.
It may be a cliched color combination (pink, white, and blue), but I think my bleeding hearts look terrific with Brunnera Macrophylla. They bloom at the same time most years, and seem to enjoy sharing the same area. I like the heart-shaped brunnera leaves, too, although they can get kind-of ratty by the end of summer.
Tricyrtis tojen (Toad Lilly)! Great abundant flowers in late fall, when the shade garden really needs it! Not too fussy about light or soil conditions.
i second the lobelia cardinalis - there is no deeper red - gotta love it ...
For me, ferns are the backbone of the shade garden. So many different kinds and so easy to grow. They are beautiful all on their own, but even better, they make every flower planted near them just a little more lovely.
I'm especially enamored of the look of ferns with hostas, heuchera, heucherella and tiarella.
Nor could I garden so happily without my beloved trilliums.
For fall, I really like anemones, tricrtis (toad lilies), and kirengeshoma.
Wow, I can't believe how long this thread has been going! I will add my vote for Rieger begonias. I have one in complete shade and it is healthy and blooms constantly. Gorgeous yellow flowers. I have seen the same variety as mine in many different colors too.
Well, I'm bringing up the rear.
I really needed to read through this thread as it gave me some ideas as to other plans that can grow in shade. I'm working on rent house and needed something for shade, which I don't have at my house. So, this helped me a lot.
Irish, I'm sure glad that you started this.
Bleeding heart, Astilbe(likes it moist), impatiens(annual)
I CAN'T BELIEVE NOBODY SAID "CAMELLIA". THEY HAVE THE MOST OUTSTANDING, THE MOST ABUNDANT FLOWERS FOR THE SHADE. AND SOME OF THEM ARE FRAGRANT!
Yup most of the above are musts for me!
But I'm currently nuts over Rue. With darker foliage plants around it, the foliage positively glows with happiness - without stealing the show (like my dang monster rhodies and some of the variagated ground covers do) And my Rue has bloomed creamy yellow for a couple months already this spring...so it's a great choice for a mixed shade border, and looks great next to bleeding heart, coral bells, & virginia persicaria.
i would like to know whitch shade flower that will bloom in full shade in hot humid weather, most of the year. thanks joyce, from florida.
I just need to second the vote on Monkshood! They bloom late in the summer for me - almost at the cusp of fall - when you hardly see any blue (especially such a deep,true blue)in the garden,and they're tall, they spread politely to make nice clumps and there is something both sinister and beautiful about them that works for me when my thoughts are turning from Summer and toward Halloween!
how do i get rid of Houtenia? Its so invasive? what weed killer will do the job?
I cann,t believe so few people have mentioned hydrangeas. They bloom in late spring and got threw wonderful color changes well into late fall.
Astilbes, bleeding heart and tiarella.
My opinion changes with the seasons. What is currently blooming is my favorite.
These are what is currently blooming now in early October in our shady gardens:
Twist & Shout Hydrangea with lime added to stay pink in my acid soils.
Impatiens, annual: any pink especially the hot pinks
Japanese anemone: light pink flowers, though floppy
'Autumn Joy' sedums
Corydalis lutea, yellow blooms
Darlow's Enigma, hybrid musk rose white fragrant blooms
Hardy fuchsia purple with red
I do miss the blooms of summer though with the sweet william, crocosmia, shasta daisy, lilies, heuchera, phlox, and hosta adding their loveliness in the mix. We have cool summer weather & these plants bloomed in my shady backyard garden surrounded by tall conifers & deciduous trees. Remember they won't bloom as well in shade, but will bloom.
Spring blooms are also lovely...
blue-eyed Mary (better behaved, but similar bloom to forget me not)
vinca minor & major
Primrose 'Wanda' yellow eyed purple
sea of white sweet woodruff
hardy geranium phaem in later spring that keeps the bumblebees happy