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Shade Plants and Flowers That Will Look Amazing in Your Garden This Year

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It’s time to start thinking about plants and flowers and if you are like me and have lots of shade, then you want to know anything and everything about Shade Plants and Flowers.  I put together a list of great options for you to add to your shade garden this Spring and Summer.

Shade Plants pin for Pinterest.

Let’s break this into two categories, perennials and annuals.  Perennials are plants and flowers that come back year after year.  Annuals you have to plan annually.

*This post contains affiliate links.  For more details see my full disclosure.

Perennial Shade Plants

Just to paint a picture of where I live, imagine a lot of trees.  There you go, I live in the trees!  

Actually, I live in a great subdivision with lots of mature vegetation, and all the homes were built to blend in with the nature around it.  I get some sun in front of the house but the sides and back are completely shaded by tons of trees.

We have a walkout lower level with a nice-sized patio and second-story deck above.  Last summer we added some outdoor lights under the deck to illuminate the patio at night.  They look so cool!  

This summer we are all about finishing the look with the garden.  We added some pretty tulip bulbs that are coming up right now.  We also added some plants.

Hostas

Hostas are just about the most durable plant out there.  If you have a black thumb (like me) then you need Hostas!

Hostas come in almost hundreds of different varieties.  They have different colors and sizes.  

I chose a Hosta with a variegated leaf for two reasons.  One, it added a little interest with the white stripes, and two, I heard that deer have a tendency to eat them less.  I don’t know if that’s true but if it is then that’s what I want!

Another great thing about Hostas is that if yours grow to big and are taking over everything else in your garden you can easily split them.  

Just dig them up and separate the roots.  This is a great way to save money by spreading them around your garden, or by asking your Mother in Law for some when she is separating hers!  😂

A greenish gray colored hosta, beautiful shade plant.
Source: The Spruce
An example of a Hosta with white and green leaves.
Source: Bluestone Perennials
Several varieties of hostas in color and size, shade plants.
Source: Bolton Lawn Care

Ferns

Ferns absolutely LOVE shade.  I planted some in the ground and plan on using some in hanging baskets from the deck above.  

I read the label on the different varieties and chose the one that said it was “deer-resistant”.  We shall see how true that is this summer.

Have you ever seen a fern open up its leaves in the Spring?  It’s really cool, it’s like a spiral as they open up.  It’s very neat to see.

A shade plant with lacy leafs planted in the ground.
Source: The Home Depot

Lenten Rose

These aren’t as popular and I really don’t know why!  Shade plants and flowers tend to not have as much color and these are great for adding some color to your shady spaces.  These plants come in a variety of colors.  

Lenten Rose can tolerate some sun and loves moist areas so mulching is definitely a good idea.  Check out all the beautiful colors!

A sea of shade plants called lenten roses in light pink and white on green leafy plants.
Source: Pinterest
Shade plant with light pink blooms.
Source: Sunset Magazine
A leafy shade plant with white blooms.
Source: The Gardening Cook

Hydrangea

Everyone automatically things hydrangeas are shade plants but they actually like a bit of light too.  They can’t be planted in areas that get complete shade but they do very well in shady areas that get only a few hours of sun a day.  

Hydrangeas come in lots of colors and sizes, even shapes but my absolute favorite is the Limelight Hydrangea!  We planted some right off the patio on the side in the space where the sun gets through mid-afternoon.  

They looked so pretty, my neighbor liked them too!  I love when that happens!

Shade plants that are a bush with pink and blue blooms like big puffy balls.
Source: DIY Network
Shade plants called limelight hydrangeas, bushes with cone shaped white flowers.
Source: Jackson and Perkins
Shade plants with big puffy dark pink blooms.
Source: The Old Farmers Almanac

Bleeding Hearts

These plants are so pretty and can add such a pretty shot of color to your shade garden.  

They are a little higher maintenance than the rest of the choices here and if you have a dog or outdoor cat that eats the plants they can be poisonous in high doses.  

The good thing though is deer don’t like them, so if that’s an issue for you these might be a good option for your garden.

Light green shade plant with pink flowers that hang down off a stem.

Leopard Plants

No, they don’t look like a leopard LOL but they sure are pretty!  They tend to grow in clumps so work really well with other leafy plants like ferns.  

Leopard plants love water so if you have water nearby they will thrive.  They also work best in woodland areas which are perfect for my yard.  And bonus, they are deer resistant!  Yeah!!

A green leafy plant with yellow flowers that love the shade.
Source: The Spruce

Annual Shade Flowers

Like I said before, annual means you plant them annually.  So I tend to use these more in pots rather than in the ground, but you can use them there if you want.

Impatiens

I love impatiens, they are so delicate and feminine.  They produce copious amounts of flowers and you don’t have to remove dead blooms to keep them blooming!  

These are kind of set it and forget it, except for watering that is.  

I love impatiens because of the color they add.  They come in tons of shades of different colors so you can color-coordinate your pots if you like.  

The only negative I have found with Impatiens is that deer like them.  I planted some in an area under my deck stairs and couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t bloom.  Then I noticed that the plants were all cut, they were eating all the blooms!

This year I will use them in pots on my second-floor deck, not on the patio underneath.

A garden full of multi colored impatiens.
Source: The Spruce
A border of a garden of all the same colored impatiens, dark pink.
Source: Keep Akron Beautiful

Begonias

I have seen begonias used in the gardens by a neighborhood entrance and they do wonderfully in the sun.  But they truly prefer shade or part shade and they also like water.  

I had some in my last house that I planted in an area that had a good bit of sun, but it rained I think allllll summer.  It was such a dreary summer but my begonias were amazing!  

The next summer they hardly grew because of too much sun and not enough water.  So I definitely recommend part shade if not full shade and a good amount of water.

Light pink begonias with Kelly green leaves.
Source: Home Stratosphere
Red begonias with waxy green leaves.
Source: Garden and Greenhouse

Coleus

This little annual reminds me a lot of Hostas because of the variegated leaves it has.  If you look you can find them in lots of different colors.  I love including Coleus in a pot with other plants.

Darker colored Coleus with variegated leaves.
Source: The Spruce
Lots of beautiful colorful variegated annual plants.
Source: Garden of Eden

Where can you buy shade plants and flowers online?

Believe it or now Amazon is a great place to buy plants. And the best part they get delivered directly to your door!

Here are some of the flowers and plants I discussed today and links directly to where you can purchase them.

Well, I hope you are feeling inspired to work outside in your garden.  I know I can’t wait, especially creating beautiful flower pots.  

That is my favorite part of gardening is the pots.  To me, they are like accessories in your house.  

Shade Plants Pin for Pinterest.

Which is your favorite shade plant?  I would love to know, please tell me in the comments below.

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As a licensed Real Estate Agent and an avid home decorator, I strive to give my clients the very best I can when it comes to staging, selling, and decorating their homes. I have lots of experience with paint color choices and love to DIY my home so I can have everything just the way I want it. I share my ideas and projects with the world in the hopes that I can help others have their homes just the way they want as well.

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