Best Perennials for Shade – Beautiful Perennial Flowers (With Pictures)

In regions of your garden that get little sunlight, perennial flowers for shade are ideal. Shade-loving perennials thrive under trees, huge shrubs, and landscape regions that are in constant darkness. Hydrangeas, violets, hellebores, and astilbe blooms are some of the best flowering plants for shade. By growing these tough perennials, you can add foliage and color to your landscape where other plants won’t.

It’s important to understand the type of shade in your garden when selecting the right perennial flowers for your shaded front or backyard. Some perennials perform better in partial shade while others prefer full shade. Shade-tolerant ground cover plants and shrubs thrive equally well in partial sun as well as full sun, thus eliminating the need for shade.

Perennials that thrive in the shade are covered in this article. This list of shade-loving perennials will help you decide whether you need plants for complete shade or perennials for partial shade.

Do Perennials Come Back Year After Year?

For shaded landscapes, most perennials return year after year. Hardy plants that can withstand harsh winters are called perennials. Throughout the winter, many perennials succumb to the ground and spring back to life. Planting perennials is the best thing about having flowers and foliage in your yard for much of the year, with very little upkeep.

fter surviving for a few years, certain hardy perennials may experience signs of decline. After blooming year after year, these perennials eventually perish after three or four years. Yet, a variety of perennial species continue to grow and bloom for years after they first appear.

What are tender perennials?

Plants that can only grow in warmer climates and cannot survive in freezing temperatures are called tender perennials. USDA zones 10 and 11, as well as warmer parts of zone 9, are ideal for flowering tender perennials. Tender perennials, on the other hand, are seldom seen in garden settings in zones 7 and below. You grow tender perennials like annuals or blooming houseplants in these northern climates.

Half-hardy perennials

Half-hardy perennials are those that tolerate some shade. These blooms may endure brief cold winters and flourish in some colder climes. Returning half-hardy perennials produce flowers year after year.

Partial shade perennials

When partial shade perennial flowers receive some morning and evening sunlight, they perform best. Perennials, especially those under a shade tree or pergola, are usually planted for partial shade. In an east-facing environment, protected from strong morning and afternoon heat, partial shade blooming perennials thrive. “Partial sun perennials” are a term used to describe plants that prefer shade but flourish in part sun.

Full shade perennials

Plants that thrive in full shade are known as full shade perennials. Perennials with fragile leaves that burn quickly in sunlight are common for full-shade planting. Under trees with broad canopy or in north-facing gardens are the optimum locations to grow complete shade perennials. Perennials that thrive in full shade are also ideal for casting shadows for the majority of the day on walls and fences.

Best Perennials for Shade (With Pictures)

What are the best perennial plants for your garden landscape? Want to learn more about perennials that can thrive in indirect light? Keep reading.

Fumewort (Corydalis lutea)

Fumewort is a long-blooming, shade-loving perennial clumping plant that produces lovely yellow tubular flowers throughout the summer. Corydalis lutea is a perennial plant with yellow blooms. Mounds of perennial fumewort may reach 2 ft. (0.6 m) high and 2 ft. (0.6 m) broad, growing year after year.

USDA zones 4 through 8 are ideal growing conditions for fumewort. In part shade to full shade, fumewort thrives best. Mixed beds, shaded rock gardens, cottage gardens, and ground cover for shade are all good places to plant this perennial. Fumewort is a  creeping evergreen plant that thrives in cool, humid environments.

Chinese Astilbe (Astilbe chinensis)

Chinese Astilbe plants are bushy flowering perennials with fern-like leaves that grow in full or partial shade. Their lovely pink and purple blooms add a decorative touch to shaded to dappled shade gardens. The ornamental clusters of colorful feathery plumes in a conical form that characterize Astilbe chinensis are showy.

The long-lasting flowers of this perennial shade bloom are its beauty. In USDA zones 4 through 9, Chinese Astilbe perennials grow to be 3 feet (0.9 meters) tall and 2 feet (0.6 meters) broad. There are also compact cultivars, such as the dwarf Chinese Astilbe variety ‘Pumila.

For full or partial shade, Chinese Astilbe is a great blooming plant. Best grown in moist soil, this adaptive bushy perennial. You can place Chinese Astilbe along borders or fences, beneath shade trees, or in containers in a shady garden landscape.

Chinese Astilbe species are ideal for you if you want lovely blooming ground cover with pastel flowers. If you have chilly summers, you may also grow Chinese Astilbe plants as a ground cover. Yet, in order for the plants to survive in hot weather, you must keep the soil moist.

Hardy Begonia (Begonia grandis)

Hardy begonias are bushy shade-loving plants with clusters of luscious, heart-shaped green leaves and delicate pink or white flowers. They’re a excellent ground cover for full to partial shade. From mid-summer to late fall, Hardy begonias bloom. The whitish-pink blooms contrast nicely with the dark, olive-green leaves with crimson undersides.

Hardy begonias are perennial flowers that thrive in USDA zones 6 through 9. Plant perennial begonias in organically rich soil in full to partial shade for best growth. Hardy begonias may be grown in shaded patio or deck areas as ground cover or in containers.

Violets (Viola)

Violets are lovely blooming perennials that brighten up shaded gardens and provide some of the most spectacular spring blossoms. In milder climates, certain violet species will bloom in the winter. Purple, white, yellow, red, and bicolored pastel hues are among the perennial violet blooms.

In USDA zones 5 through 9, violets flourish. For part shade, violets prefer to be grown in bulk plantings or as an edging, container, or ground cover. Plant the lovely plants in moist, well-draining ground to foster violets in your yard. Violets may be grown in full sun if you reside in zone 5, as long as you maintain the soil moisture levels high.

Barrenwort (Epimedium)

Barrenwort is a stunning evergreen shade-loving perennial with lance, slender yellow, pink, lilac, and crimson blossoms that grows well in your garden’s shaded spots. These long-stemmed blooms develop in attractive clusters at the end of their stems, producing drooping blooms.

Barrenwort is a huge, long plant with spiky margins that is sometimes referred to as bishop’s hat. Barrenwort thrives in shaded areas beneath trees, such as shade gardens, where they enhance mixed flower beds. As a ground cover, you may also grow barrenwort. The bushy plant grows up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) tall and 3 feet (0.9 meters) broad in USDA zones 5 through 9, where Barrenwort thrives.

Hellebore (Helleborus) – Lenten Rose

Hellebore is a shade species with leathery green leaves and large, star-shaped showy flowers that prefers partial to full shade. From early to late winter and spring, these flowering perennials bloom. Ideal for brightening any shade garden, the rosette-form Helleborus flowers range in color from pink to red to green to white.

During the winter and spring, the long-lasting flowers bloom for many weeks. Hellebore plants are sometimes called winter roses and prefer to grow in shady borders, beneath trees, or as bulk plantings. In USDA zones 4 through 9, grow perennial hellebore blooms.

Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)

Foamflower is a low-growing plant with maple-like leaves and clusters of fuzzy white blooms on upright stems that thrives in partial or full shade. Thrive in partial shade, making them ideal for underplanting shrubs. During six weeks, the delicate white blooms blossom, and the creeping foliage covers the bare earth in a matter of days.

Foamflower grows to be 12 inches (30 centimeters) tall and broad. Flower beds, along the edges, or beneath shade trees are the best locations to cultivate this flowering perennial. In milder climates, you may also grow perennials as a lovely, evergreen ground cover. USDA zones 3 through 8 are ideal for foamflower.

Leopard plant (Ligularia)

The leopard plant is a clumping perennial that will complement partially shaded flower beds with its tall yellow blossoms. The leopard plant produces conical flowering spikes (racemes) covered in small, yellow daisy-like flowers with mounds of foliage. The racemes may reach a height of 5 feet (1.5 meters). In the summertime, the towering blooming spikes last for a few weeks.

Due to its huge, 12-inch (30-cm) leaves, this hardy flowering perennial makes excellent ground cover. The leopard plant thrives best in the rear of flower beds or along the borders, due to its height. This perennial is best suited for cultivation beside garden ponds or along streams, and it prefers moist, damp soil.

Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)

Green and gold is a low-growing flowering perennial that thrives in partial shade because of its creeping nature. Tight clumps of triangular green leaves with serrated edges make up the thick green foliage. The dainty, star-shaped bright yellow blooms of this perennial are one of its most appealing features. During the spring and mid-summer, the green and gold hues are prominent.

This creeping perennial is ideal as ground cover for part shade because it only grows to be 12 inches (30 cm) tall. This pretty mounding plant may also be used as a pathway, driveway, or foundation planting. In USDA zones 5 through 9, green and gold are appropriate.

Bear’s Breech (Acanthus mollis)

Bear’s breech is a fast-growing flowering perennial that thrives in full to partial shade in hot environments. Tall white and purple blooming spikes emerge from this semi-evergreen clump-forming plant. The glossy dark green leaves contrast beautifully with the tall flowers.

Zones 7 through 11 are compatible with Bear’s breech. In colder climes, bear breech thrives in full sun if the land is watered frequently. In partial shade, where you need tall perennial flowers, Bear’s breech performs best. When established, Acanthus mollis is a drought-tolerant perennial plant.


Morning light and dappled shade are preferred by Hydrangea macrophylla (in the photograph). The giant flower heads of these perennial flowering plants, which may reach 14″ (35 cm) in diameter, are their most distinguishing feature. Early summer sees the re-blooming blooms emerge, and they stay blooming till fall.

Hydrangeas have serrated edges on their large glossy, dark green ovate leaves. Mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) and climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea anomala subsp. anomala) are two types of shade-happy hydrangeas. The petiolaris is a kind of petioles.

In dappled light or part shade, the mophead hydrangea thrives in USDA zones 6 through 9. These plants are best used as foundation plantings, container plants, or a flowering privacy hedge and have large, round flower heads. In USDA zones 4 through 9, climbing hydrangeas thrive best.

While blooming from late spring to autumn, the lovely white flowers nearly conceal the foliage. Climbing hydrangeas may be used to cover walls or fences in the best landscape design. To create an attractive garden feature, you can also grow these hydrangeas up arbors or pergolas.

Periwinkle (Vinca)

Periwinkles are shade-tolerant ground cover plants that require little care and are easy to grow. This ground cover plant blooms in mid-spring until summer, and the purple to blue star-shaped flowers emerge. Even when underplacing shrubs in full sun, the dark green lanceolate leaves and 5-petaled flowers create a dense carpet of green and purple hues. Periwinkle plants, which grow in zones 4 through 9, are low-maintenance ground cover plants.

Plantain Lily (Hosta)

In zones 3 through 8, hosta plants are mostly grown for their lovely leaves, although some hosta forms produce flowers on long stems in the summer. In early summer, clusters of funnel-shaped white or pale purple and pink flowers bloom on Hosta plants.

The flowers, on the other hand, are tiny in comparison to the huge heart-shaped bright green leaves. For shaded gardens, hosta plants are one of the most common ground cover and edging plants. To brighten a north-facing balcony, deck, patio, or entryway, you may also grow these mound-forming perennials in containers.

Bleeding Hearts (Dicentra)

Bleeding heart plants are red, pink, or white perennial plants that tolerate shade and have unusual heart-shaped blooms. The lovely blooms sway from arching stems, producing a string of hearts that looks to bleed. Although it grows in full shade, you may not get as many flowers as with this adaptable perennial. The soil should be kept moist at all times while growing in full sun. In part to full shade, bleeding hearts thrives best in semi-shaded borders or as ground cover.

Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla)

Siberian bugloss is a cold-hardy flowering perennial with large heart-shaped leaves and small clusters of delicate light-blue flowers that grows in partial shade or full shade. In shade and chilly, moist circumstances, the thick evergreen leaves flourish. This small clump of low-growing shade plants grows to be 2 feet (0.6 meters) tall and 3 feet (1 meters) broad.

Beds, along with ponds, or as ground cover, Siberian bugloss thrives best. USDA zones 3 through 8 are suitable for this perennial species.

Monkshood (Aconitum napellus)

Monkshood is a purple bell-shaped bloomer that grows on long leafy stalks and thrives in partial shade. It’s also known as wolfsbane or aconite. The flowers resemble a medieval monk’s hood, which is why the common name of Aconitum napellus is monkshood.

The plant also contains poisons and is extremely poisonous. In USDA zones 3 through 7, monkshood thrives in moist, damp soil. Nonetheless, due to its high toxicity, it is not a good idea to grow this perennial inyards where pets or small children are present.

Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Lungwort is a lovely landscape perennial with red, purple, or pink pendulous, bell-shaped papery flowers that thrives in partial shade. Brightening up shaded landscape areas with bright pinkish or purple funnel-like flowers and green, ovate leaves with white speckles.

This low-growing clump-forming plant only grows to 12 inches (30 centimeters) tall and 18 inches (45 centimeters) broad. Under roses or shrubs, in shady walks or driveways, and on ground cover for full shade are the best places to grow perennial lungwort.

Dead Nettle (Lamium)

Dead nettle is a pink or white-flowered small flower perennial that thrives in the shade and forms a dense, mat-forming ground cover. This fast-growing plant may grow in shaded woodlands, bare soil under trees and shrubs, and in north-facing gardens with little effort.

In part shade, the silvery-green leaves of the varieties with dead nettle perform best. Dead nettles thrive in shady settings as shade-loving perennials, and as edging plants. In mixed flower beds or containers, you may also cultivate dead nettle.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Lily of the Valley is a delicate white blooming perennial that thrives in full or partial shade. The heavily scented bell-shaped white blooms that dangle from short, arching stems are the distinguishing feature of this full shade perennial. Among lustrous lance-shaped glossy, green leaves, these delicate flower stalks grow. In zones 2 through 7, lily of the valley is cold-hardy.

The clumping perennials reach a height of 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm). In the shade, where it creates a dense carpet of lush green foliage, the fast-spreading plant is ideal for ground cover.

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