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7 Plants That Thrive In The Shade

Everyone adores a sunny garden with bold and bright blooms. But shady gardens also deserve some love. These shade perennials boast beautiful leaf colors and delicate, exotic flowers—and some have irresistibly cool names too! Remember: Full shade means the area never gets direct sunlight. Part shade means it doesn’t get more than 3 or 4 hours of sun daily.

1. Ligularia

Sometimes called “leopard plant,” Ligularia is an excellent choice for any shade garden—and not just because deer don’t enjoy eating it. One of the other nice things about this plant is its striking, purplish-red leaves. There’s another variety that features yellow, daisy-looking flowers, and yet another called ‘The Rocket’ that boasts spikier blooms. If you’re looking for a plant with a large leaf structure, this might be your best bet.

2. Aconitum

This gorgeous perennial can grow up to three feet tall. Talk about a beautiful addition to a shadier area of your lawn! The main attraction is the flower itself. It’s got this really nice, deep blue or purple hue. And deer don’t like them!

3. Asarum Canadense

Asarum canadense—Canadian wild ginger—is an interesting native plant to choose for your shade garden. It’s a low-grower and prefers the deepest shade with a moist soil.

4. Spiderwort

Spiderwort or Tradescantia is a part shade—not deep shade—plant. It features a beautiful flower and can grow anywhere from a foot-and-a-half to two feet tall. The variety Sweet Kate has unique, chartreuse-colored leaves.

5. Viola

These spring bloomers tolerate some sun, but they prefer part to full shade, especially in the heat of summer. Some types are fragrant, too.

6. Astilbe

Lacey, toothed leaves and feathery plumes of pink, white, red, or purple flowers bloom in profusion in early to midsummer. A little morning sun helps them bloom better.

7. Epimedium

These little plants are also known as fairy wings or bishop’s cap due to the adorable shape of their flowers, which appear in early spring. They don’t like foot traffic, so plant them where they won’t be stepped on.