Plants Made for the Shade

These shade plants will flourish in small yards, or in any of the less sunny spots in your garden.
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©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Bergenia 'Abendglut'

Bergenia 'Abendglut' are evergreens with large, leathery, oval leaves. 'Abendglut' will grow in sun or shade and tolerate a wide range of soils, including dry soils and clay.


Anemone nemorosa, windflower, is an  outstanding shade plant for late summer and fall. The branching stems of poppy like flowers are superb for cutting. It features large, white single blossoms on tall stems.

Tasmanian Tree Fern

Tasmanian tree fern, or Dicksonia antarctica, is a fern with bright green fronds and a fine lacy texture. Its dark brown trunk holds a spreading crown of feathery, arching fronds 3 to 6 feet long, making it a beautiful accent plant.

Oregon Grape Holly

Oregon grape holly, or Mahonia aquifolium, is an excellent shrub for massed planting as a hedge or as a screen in shade. New growth has bronze red coloring and purplish red leaves in winter. Yellow flowers are followed by blue berries.

Soft Shield Fern

Polystichum setiferum, or soft shield fern, is one of the most common ferns. It forms a medium-sized clump of soft-textured fronds, dark green in color. Plants perform best in soils that remain evenly moist and in shady nooks and crannies.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley is an old fashioned perennial and a favorite for growing as groundcover in shady areas. Plants form spreading clump of large green leaves, bearing short spikes of fragrant white bells in spring.


Helleborus argutifolius, hellebore, flowers in late winter and early spring, with clusters of small apple green flowers.

Japanese Laurel

Aucuba japonica 'Salicifolia', has long, mid-green, evergreen leaves and bright red, oval berries over the autumn and winter months.

Lily Turf

Lily turf is a grasslike plant belonging to the lily family. It is often used as a low-maintenance groundcover in shady landscapes or in shady containers. Firm, evergreen, grasslike leaves produce terminal spikes of small flowers that bloom in late summer.

Wood Spurge

Wood spurge adds great color to the garden, flowering in spring to summer. It is an evergreen plant that is at home in both sun and shade, with clusters of bright green-yellow flowers and rosettes of leaves.

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