Colorful Plants for Shady Summer Gardens

Impatiens, coleus and begonias are ubiquitous with beautiful shady gardens. Here, more planting ideas for living color — even in the shade.

  • Sunny Disposition

    The summer and fall flowering of Kerria japonica' 'Picta' is but a faint echo of this deciduous shrub's floriferous spring bloom, but set against the still-bright variegated foliage, it creates a highlight for the shade garden.

  • Luscious Color

    Crape myrtles come in all sizes, including small shrubs, and bloom times vary considerably according to cultivar. Some start blooming in early July, and others continue through September. Crape myrtles have a fair degree of shade tolerance. This particular plant receives only a couple of hours of late-afternoon sun.

  • Eyecatching Foliage

    You can create a lush shade garden with nothing but hostas. Aside from the midsummer flowers, the main show is the beautiful foliage that comes in a wide variety of greens and blues and markings. Here, 'Spritzer' hosta.

  • Grassy Texture

    Variegated Japanese reed grass

  • Tropical Look

    A circle of colorful caladiums directs the eye toward a place to rest.

  • Endless Summer

    'Endless Summer' hydrangea took the gardening world by storm when it was introduced in 2006. Unlike other bigleaf hydangeas, it blooms on both new and old wood — meaning it blooms from spring through summer. Also unlike its cousins, it's hardy to USDA Zone 4.

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