Plants & Flowers for Your Shade Garden

The front of my house faces north. While this means that my vegetable garden is bathed in sunlight from dawn until dusk the side of my house that makes the first impression is not so blessed. The bottom part of my lawn gets plenty of sun; the good thing about having a ranch style home. The flower beds that line the foundation of the house get no real sun. Ever.

I’m trying to reclaim my flower beds but I don’t want to spend a fortune on annuals. This means I need to move some of the annuals that I already have and purchase (or swap for) new ones. Finding shade loving plants and flowers can seem like an impossible task but there are actually quite a few really attractive options.


There is a section of wall at the front of the house that has no windows and no architectural features. It’s just a wall. For that area I can use a shrub that grows fairly tall and wide. My choice is the Carolina allspice. This is a lovely shrub that has maroon to rusty brown, fruity smelling flowers that bloom in the spring.


I already have a few astilbes in various hues. My current favorite is called Jump and Jive. The vibrant color really lights up my shady flower bed.


Another favorite that I need to replace is common foxglove. I like the variety called Dalmatian White because it nearly glows in moonlight. Another favorite foxglove is Camelot Rose. A nice thing about foxglove is it’s a reseeding biennial so, although it’s not a forever plant it does last a couple of years.








In the flower beds I have both hostas and ferns but, honestly, I’m tired of them. And there are several coral bell plants doing quite well but I think I want to try a brighter color. The ones I have are dark in color and I want to lighten things up with Citronelle and Blackberry Ice varieties.



And I may throw in an early bloomer like Helleborus, Red Lady. For mid to late summer blooms I’ll look to spiderwort in a pretty purple like Sweet Kate.



A beautiful, low growing flower that I’ll use to fill in some spots is the primrose. These pretty flowers come in a variety of colors and you can usually also buy them as a mix.


Here is a list of plants and flowers that grow well in the shade. Be sure to check if the plants you want will grow in your zone. Remember, just because you don’t have a lot of sun doesn’t mean you can’t make your garden lovely!

Begonia -wax begonias

Garden forget-me-not
Wishbone flower


Fringed bleeding heart
Common bleeding heart
Yellow foxglove
Common foxglove (reseeding biennial)
Coral bells
Virginia bluebells
Cinnamon fern
Wild blue phlox
Creeping phlox
Solomon’s seals
Allegheny foamflower


Wild gingers
Heartleaf bergenia

Alpine strawberry
Sweet woodruff
Hakone grass
Spotted lamium
Liriope (this can be invasive in warmer climates)
Japanese pachysandra


Carolina allspice
Rose daphne
Japanese holly
Mountain laurel
Variegated Japanese kerria
Mahonias and Oregon grapes
Heavenly bamboo
Rhododendrons and azaleas
Alpine currant
Himalayan sarcococca
Japanese skimmia



Author: Elizabeth

I'm a wife, mom, and grandma (known as Bam) who loves cooking, baking, gardening, and all things that go into making a cozy coop for my brood. I have a disability so you may pick up tips on how to do things when some things just don't work right!

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