Perennial flowering plants Zone 8 full and partial shade

Rekha Anandkumar(9)August 24, 2005

Hi Everyone,

New to gardening, just bought a house. The whole backyard (well, it is a small backyard), is shaded to varying degrees. I wanted to get suggestions on flowering plants (there is plenty of greenery there), I would like perennials in varying heights and colors suitable for this climate. The soil is clay, i can amend it as needed to an extent...

thanks for your help!


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lgkovalcik(z7 AL)

Hellebores are wonderful for evergreen foliage and winter blooms that last for several months.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
aisgecko(7b Raleigh)

Geraniums can take some shade, daylilies can actually take quite a bit of shade and are easy, toad lilies, spider wort, hostas, ( some have quite pretty flowers), epimediums, hydrangeas, phlox divaricata, columbines, japanese anemones, violets, indian pink, astilbe. I have all of these in varying degrees of shade. -Ais.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 1:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
beansprout(9 Hous TX)

I also live in Houston and I can tell you I've had a realy hard time growing some of the traditional shade plants here. Hydrangeas get sickly, Hosta's are pitiful, Astilbe's don't last long at all.

I have had good luck with a Camellia planted in shade.

Also, I think it is called Star Jasmine. It is a quickly growing vine, I have mine on a trellis but I have to groom it often. It grows and flowers more in the sun, but still does prettily in shade.

I put a Cast Iron plant in shade and it looks great (ya, I planted my house plant outside).

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 10:41AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
karinl(BC Z8)

The list of plants that will technically grow in shade is so long that there are many books on the subject - check local library, bookstore, used bookstore. However, understanding your local conditions is crucial, as the last poster points out - is it dry shade, or does it get a spell of hot sun in summer....For this you need to get to know your yard and understand how your local climate translates into garden conditions. A great place for information might be your local nursery. There, you can see plants selected for your area, ask for help selecting plants for shade, and also get a feel for what plants you like. If there is a gardening magazine published locally that will also give you some site-specific information.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 11:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

The polyantha roses do surprisingly well in shade, although of course they are more vigorous and flower better in a bit of sun.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2005 at 8:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whynotsb(z8a/8b GA)

Consider the watering needs of plants, too. If you have lots of trees and shrubs with shallow roots and you don't regularly give supplimentary irrigation, you also need to look for plants that will do well in DRY shade.

Also consider foliage for color, not just flowers. Many varieties of Heucheras (Coral Bells), Tiarella (Foam Flower), and Heucherellas (a cross between the two) sport spectacular foliage (probably all year round in Houston) in addition to the flower spikes. The Tiarellas can handle a little more shade than the Heucheras. Although it's heritage suggests it will thrive best in moist woodland conditions, I've read that Heucherella 'Quicksilver' can handle dry shade better than most.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 9:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jkom51(Z9 CA/Sunset 17)

Amending your soil is always a good idea, if you don't have ideal conditions to start. I think it gives plants a head start when they are first struggling to get established -- and of course, watering every week is a must for the first year!

An excellent background shrub might be the red or pink flowering cestrum. I have to watch out for scale in the dry summer months but outside of that, they flower virtually year round in zone 9, and are vigorous multi-branching, 4-8' shrubs. You can prune them to thicken them up a bit, otherwise the branches lean outwards.

Another excellent choice might be abutilons, if they are hardy where you are. I've seen conflicting information on the difference varieties so I don't know if they'll work or not. The two most beautiful variegated ones are 'Thompsonii' - very vigorous, and 'Savitzii', which is less so. Aphids can trouble them though.

I like variegated plants because they really brighten up a shady spot. For dry shade, there is nothing better than Aucuba 'Gold Dust' -- cheap, easy to find, and gets a substantial 6-10' in height over time. Fabulous to add the leaves to a bouquet, too. Watch out for snails when young, they love to munch on this plant.

I have good luck with India hawthorn (Rhaphiolepsis indica) 'Ballerina' in partial shade, it is a smaller, daintier version of the I. hawthorn that flowers profusely, and never seems bothered by insects or drought.

I understand epimedrums are very good in shade and dry shade situations, too. I'm in a warmer zone than you so have other varieties instead.

Note that hummers and butterflies absolutely adore the cestrums and abutilons so I never use systemics.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2006 at 1:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

IMO, in your zone and in my zone, in Houston and in Atlanta, there is almost no such thing as shade. Southern summers get so much sun that even shade gets more light than you think. I would put any shade plants only in the full shade areas of the yard. For the partial shade areas, I would put plants listed in catalogs for "full sun/partial shade" and mix in plants listed as "partial shade." Some of the plants in both categories won't do well. You'll have to move some to more shade and give away or move the ones that aren't getting enough sun. But you'll end up with the plants that work for you and you'll get to play with a much wider range of plants. Can't be more specific about which plants because your environment is too different from mine. Find out everything you can from local gardeners about what they plant in shade. Notice what's in yards you think are pretty. Good luck. I hope you have fun with your new yard.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I plan to try the camellia myself this year to see how it does. I have never planted this before.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tommy Patterson Band Director

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 4:26PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Dividing some shade plants
Hi all! I have several out of control giant epimedium...
Zone 10b: Dog Friendly Ground Cover in the Shade
I am considering replacing our front lawn (in a gated,...
Flower suggestions for the front of my home
I would like to grow flowers in my front yard, but...
asm198 - Zone 6a (MO)
Heavy shade, raised bed, shallow soil ideas?
I'm looking for ideas for a planted area at a commercial...
what are good plants for heavy shade?
I have a heavily-shaded backyard (maybe 2-4 hours of...
Sponsored Products
Slamp | Cactus XL Floor Lamp
Antiqued Gold Leaf Framed Metal Tulips
Agave Parabolic Pendant by Luceplan
$731.22 | Lumens
Gold Accent Lamps: 15.25 in. Pebble Stone Antique Golden Sand Lamp TA90228
Home Depot
Nature's Beauty Floral Arrangement
$399.00 | FRONTGATE
Suspension Plant Shade in White
$22.99 | Dot & Bo
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™