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Shade-loving plants

A large part of our farm is in the sun, which is great for growing flowers. However, we have a substantial amount of beds in areas that are quite shady. It took me years to accept the fact that not just any plant would grow in the shade and to figure out what plants and flowers would actually thrive in that environment.

If you find yourself with shady land, all hope is not lost. There are many beautiful plants and flowers you can grow that do well with full or partial shade and many that can be used for cut flowers or foliage. Fortunately, most of the best plants to grow in the shade are perennial and come back each year with little effort.

Shade-loving plants


The hellebore or Lenten Rose is a wonderful perennial plant for the shade. It can be used as a cut flower and is the earliest bloom on the farm. If left to go to seed, the seeds will germinate on their own and begin to spread your patch of plants. It takes about three years for a plant to produce flowers from seed, so these plants tend to be more expensive when purchased through a nursery. There are many beautiful varieties in a range of muted colors, mostly pinks, whites, greens, and purples.

Solomon's Seal

This beautiful foliage spreads by rhizome through the forest floor. It will spread in your flower bed but provides beautiful leaves that make an excellent addition to bouquets and arrangements.


We give away hostas every year from what I jokingly refer to as our hosta nursery. These plants thrive in the shade, spread easily, and provide beautiful leaves for bouquets and arrangements. Yes, they are ubiquitous, but they fill a need in a shade-covered spot. There are many varieties and can create a beautiful landscape.


Heuchera has stunning foliage that comes in an array of colorful options. Varieties offer orange, purple, silver, pink, and green foliage. This plant would be a beautiful addition to any shade garden.


Our astilbe hasn't bloomed yet. When it does, it makes a bright, feathery, conical bloom. It makes a great addition to a cutting garden.


I love foamflower. The blooms add a touch of whimsy to any bouquet, and the leaves create interest in the garden bed with the variegated colors.


Spring doesn't seem complete without a riot of color from our azalea bushes. Hardy and consistent, these beautiful blooms do well tucked into a shady corner of our yard, right up against the woods.

Partial shade

If you have partial shade, I would encourage you to try the following plants and flowers.


A bienniel that produces flowers the second year it is planted, it will tolerate some shade and make a great cut flower.


This flower is also known as Summer Snowflake, it creates beautiful, small white flowers. It is similar to snowdrops but blooms later with taller flowers.

Japanese Anenome

Given to me by a dear friend this last fall, these beauties were planted and began to thrive in their shady spot under our big oak tree. I can't wait to harvest blooms this fall.


We received hydrangeas from our neighbor years ago split from his giant bushes. They surround our yard and give us beautiful blooms each summer. We also have Oakleaf and Limelight hydrangeas that do well in dappled sunlight and offer different blooms from the typical blue ball.

Spanish bluebell

This is a flower that I hope to add to the farm this year. Spanish bluebells make a great cut flower, are planted as a bulb, and bloom in late Spring when daffodils are fading out but summer flowers haven't quite filled in yet.

My hope is that you won't let shade stop you from creating a thriving area full of beautiful plants and flowers. If you are growing for cut flower production, there are some great flowers here that would definitely add interest to any arrangement.

Make sure to check out other posts in this series: sun-loving perennials, flowering shrubs, biennials, and annuals.


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