Friends in Low-Light Places: Flowers and Shrubs That Thrive in the Shade
Whether you’re planting a container for a covered porch or need a plant that will thrive in a shade garden, we’ve got ideas for you. While so many plants thrive in full sun—and we appreciate that, given the sweltering, “all sun all the time” climate of Southern summers—sometimes, a shady plant is just what’s needed. Shade plants can nestle themselves beneath shade-giving trees or in cool, low-light gardens and still thrive. Our favorite shade-loving plants have striking foliage and bright blooms, both which can add much-needed vibrancy to dim areas that don’t receive bountiful sun. On our list of shade plants we love, we’ve included evergreen shrubs like azaleas and boxwoods as well as shady bloomers such as begonias and hostas. Whether you’re looking for a hedge or a container plant, a low-maintenance rock garden planting or an indoor flower for a hanging basket, we have the shade plant for you. Plant something new from this list sometime this season, and “shade plant” will become your next favorite gardening genre.
One of the best shade shrubs for big garden color, azaleas have bright green evergreen foliage and funnel-shaped spring and summertime flowers in shades of white, red, and pink.
These plants, with their pretty blooms and shiny, deep green foliage, are popular plants for containers situated in the shade.
When in doubt, embrace the fern. Vibrant green fern fronds can brighten up any shady corner. Nephrolepis exaltata 'Bostoniensis' is the Southern-favorite Boston fern.
These hedging shrubs are great privacy plantings, and they’re also lovely for borders because they’re hardy and can grow thick, lush, and tall.
Cast-iron plant thrives in the shade and is a great choice for amateur gardeners. That’s because they do well indoors and out, even when neglected.
Creeping fig, or Ficus pumila, can grow in sun or shade. It’s an evergreen vine that can also be grown indoors with moist soil.
Lysimachia species spread quickly and produce small white or yellow blooms in summertime. Lysimachia nummularia is the species known as creeping Jenny.
According to The Southern Living Garden Book, “Lacy foliage and beautifully presented flowers in exquisite pastels, deeper shades, and white give columbines a fairylike, woodland-glen quality.”
These hardy plants tolerate shade and bear delicate, fluttering flowers. They’re great choices for low-light areas and rock gardens.
These dramatic plants produce big clusters of spotted, bell-shaped flowers that thrive in shade with regular water.
These plants produce big, sprawling clumps of striking foliage in a variety of green, blue-green, and white shades.
These blooming beauties add a dose of color to shady spaces and come in hues of magenta, pink, peach, white, and red.
As a rule, lobelias thrive in rich soil with plenty of water. They will tolerate some sun, but as bog plants, they do best in shady climes.