What to Plant in Heavy Shade

What to Plant in Heavy Shade | Bafefoot Garden Design


Trying to show your yard love, but don’t know what to plant in heavy shade? Does your beautiful garden have a shady spot that needs some color? You may know that most flowering plants need plenty of sunlight to flourish or perform well, creating a problem in that gloomy part of the yard. 

However, not all plants want all sunshine, all the time. You will be happy to know that many lovely and low-maintenance options are there for low-light areas of the landscape, including ground covers, shrubs, or even taller plants like tree ferns. 

Also, keep in mind that plants grown for their foliage usually have no or few flowers, creating interest with a combination of leaf sizes, shapes, and colors. So, if you would like to make your yard or garden more vibrant and colorful and improve landscape design, there are many plants for shade and flowers that love the dappled shade. 

And there are a few that will flower even in deep shade. The trick to success is careful and clever plants for shade selection. 

Plant in Heavy Shade | Barefoot Garden Design


Here are some excellent plants and summer flowers for your shady garden.


Perhaps one of the best plants for shade, hydrangeas will grow in part shade, dappled sun, or a nicely-lit, full shade position. They also prefer moist, rich, and well-drained soil that’s slightly acidic in nature. You should keep them well-watered and use the right gardening supplies and eco-friendly compost to help them thrive. 

The best thing about hydrangeas is that they deliver bountiful and pretty blooms in summer and spring, with some lovely fall foliage. They only need a little morning sun. Once established, the shrubs will offer reliable summer color beneath trees or in the shady area of your sustainable garden. 

Tough, hardy, and resilient, hydrangeas come in various sizes and different forms, such as climbers. If you are growing them in pots, it is best to stand them in a small saucer of water and water daily in hot weather.

New Guinea Impatiens 

Impatiens, especially New Guinea Impatiens, are available in a wide range of shimmering and vibrant flower colors that will add charm and elegance to your garden. You should give them moist and fertile soil and keep them away from frost. 

Impatiens are one among those tried-and-true annuals that will never disappoint. They come in many bold and bright colors. Use them to fill hanging baskets, pots, window boxes, and landscape beds. Enjoy the blooms all season long. It is best to look for New Guinea impatiens or other hybrids that are not prone to diseases like downy mildew


Sufficiently tough and resilient to handle shady spots with either moist or wet soil, astilbe catches the eye and piques interest when grown in clumps. They are instantly recognizable by virtue of their colorful spikes. However, you should divide this perennial once fall comes again.

With its showy and lovely blooms atop fernlike foliage, this heavy shade-loving perennial is one of the best ways to add color and texture in specific sections of your garden where other flowers might not be able to thrive. 

Lenten Rose 

A famous variety of hellebore, these stunning and unique perennials bloom from winter to early spring. They come in a range of fabulous and gorgeous colors. They are very cold and hardy and usually bloom when snow is still on the ground. 


Ferns, especially lady ferns, come as close as any plant to being able to grow in total darkness. This is why fern is a must for all shaded gardens. 

Some excellent ferns to consider for your shady garden are Blechnum, polypodium, Dryopteris filix-mas, Polystichum, and Athyrium.


Foamflower is a native woodland plant with charming and frothy flowers and evergreen foliage. This native flower is ideal for shady spots as it tolerates deep shade. However, it blooms better when it gets some dappled sunlight that simulates its woodland habitat. 

Well-known for its frothy flowers, the heart-shaped and lobed leaves in different patterns provide color and texture year-round, particularly in milder regions. 


Ideal for adding lush green foliage for most times of the year, hostas are available in myriad colors and leaf shapes. While all plants require some level of shading, specific varieties of hostas like heavier shade. 

These hardy and colorful perennial plants are as versatile and beautiful as they are varied. Hostas come in a wide range of sizes, from five inches to six feet. 

Their foliage may be crinkly or smooth, and they are available in many colors. Colors range from chartreuse, green-blue, and deep green. Many hostas produce exotic-looking flowers in the summer, adding a splash of color to the shady area of your garden.

Summing Up

While gardening in the full shade has the reputation of being challenging, it does not have to be that way. By carefully choosing what to plant in heavy shade, you can have a beautiful landscape in limited light.