12 Pretty Perennials That are Made in the Shade

Turn up the color in your yard with perennials that strut their stuff in part to full shade.

Photo By: TerraNovaNurseries.com

Photo By: PerennialResource.com

Photo By: TerraNovaNurseries.com

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: PerennialResource.com

Photo By: SkagitGardens.com

Photo By: TerraNovaNurseries.com

Photo By: PerennialResource.com

Photo By: TerraNovaNurseries.com

Photo By: Julie Martens Forney

Photo By: PerennialResource.com

Photo By: TerraNovaNurseries.com

‘Silver Bouquet’ Pulmonaria

Brighten shady beds with the silvery leaves of 'Silver Bouquet’ pulmonaria. Spring blooms open to reveal pink petals that slowly fade to blue hues. At any point, plants often have multiple flower colors on one stem. Plants grow 7 inches tall by 20 inches wide. Plant this deer-resistant beauty near the edge of planting areas to showcase its dainty blossoms. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

‘Fanal’ Astilbe

Astilbe is a classic shade garden performer, strutting its feathery blooms in part to full shade. 'Fanal’ unfurls its flowers in early summer, making it one of the earliest reds in the astilbe group. Deep green leaves emerge red in spring. Deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 20 inches tall by 18 to 20 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

‘Red Lightning’ Heuchera

Turn up the light in a partial to full shade garden with a few plants of 'Red Lightning’ heuchera. Also known as coral bells, this plant unfurls gold leaves with bright red veins. The contrasting colors make this perennial a real wow factor in any garden. Plants grow 11 inches tall by 16 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

Bleeding Heart

In spring, dainty heart-like blossoms dangle along the stems on a bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis). An old-fashioned favorite, this shade-loving beauty unfurls blue-green leaves. Deer ignore this plant, which thrives in humus-rich soil with part shade. Plants grow 3 to 6 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide. Leaves often disappear as plants enter a summer dormancy, especially in warmer zones. In cooler regions, leaves may linger through summer. Hardy in Zones 3-9. Other varieties feature gold leaves or deep red blooms.

Japanese Painted Fern

Ferns are a go-to perennial for shady conditions, and Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum’) is a real showstopper. Silvery leaves with purple-red veins and stems stage a striking show. Best silver color develops in light shade — a little sun helps bring out the hue. Keep soil consistently moist for strong growth. Rabbit-resistant plants grow 12 to 18 inches tall by 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-8.

Pink Frost Lenten Rose

Upward-facing blooms give the Gold Collection of hellebores, including Pink Frost, a special beauty. Flowers appear from mid- to late winter, and blossom bracts linger well into spring. Pink Frost features shades of pink, rose, blush and white, which pairs beautifully with burgundy stems. Deer-resistant plants grow 12 to 15 inches tall by 24 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

‘Blue Heron’ Corydalis

Get that elusive deep blue hue that gardeners crave with drifts of 'Blue Heron’ corydalis (Corydalis curviflora var. rosthornii). Red stems contrast prettily with blooms and blue-green leaves. Plants grow 8 inches tall by 10 inches wide. For best results, give 'Blue Heron’ a spot in part to full shade with consistently moist soil. Watch for blooms from late spring to midsummer. In cool regions, flowers can appear all summer, although plants may go dormant with hot, dry conditions. Other corydalis varieties offer yellow blooms or gold leaves. Hardy in Zones 6-8.

‘Abiqua Drinking Gourd’ Hosta

Discover a blue-green hosta with thick, seersucker leaves known as 'Abiqua Drinking Gourd.’ Leaves on this hosta feature an unusual cupped shape, with leaf cups up to 3 inches deep. Heavy, seersuckered leaves offer strong slug resistance. White flowers appear in early summer. Plants grow 18 inches tall by 36 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 3-9.

‘Flirt’ Bergenia

Bergenia stages a multi-season color show in a part shade to full sun spot. Cool seasons deepen leaves to brilliant red hues, and spring welcomes the arrival of bright pink blossoms that beckon hummingbirds. Leaves fade to green through summer, until fall frosts bring out red tones. Unlike other bergenia, 'Flirt’ has small leaves that put blooms center stage. Deer-resistant, drought-tolerant plants grow 6 inches tall by 9 inches wide. Bergenia is evergreen in the Deep South, where winter color is strong. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

‘Jack Frost’ Brunnera

Also known as silver Siberian bugloss, 'Jack Frost’ brunnera (B. macrophylla) steals the show in any shade garden. Green leaves boast a beautiful silver netting that looks good from early spring to last fall frost. Dainty blue flowers appear in spring, dancing on stems that stand 5 inches above leaves. Deer-, rabbit- and slug-resistant plants grow 12 inches tall and up to 18 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9.

‘Curtain Call Pink’ Japanese Anemone

For late summer and fall color, it’s tough to beat Japanese anemone. 'Curtain Call Pink’ takes its final bows by unfurling pink blossoms with double the number of petals. Flowers dance atop long stems that stand tall over leaves. Grow in part shade for best results, although plants can take full sun in northern regions as long as soil is consistently moist. Deer- and rabbit-resistant plants grow 14 to 18 inches tall by 16 to 18 inches wide. Hardy in Zones 4-8.

‘Double Stuff’ Polygonatum

Green leaves with wide, white edges help 'Double Stuff’ Solomon’s seal provide eye-catching color in a woodland or shade garden. Fragrant flowers open in spring as white bell-shape blossoms that dangle along stems. Stems with or without blooms make a terrific addition to a garden bouquet. Deer-resistant plants grow 26 inches tall by 16 inches wide. Leaves fade to bright gold in fall. Hardy in Zones 3-8.

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