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Shade-loving perennials, annuals, and shrubs

If you're looking for colour and texture, know that some perennials, shrubs and evergreens love shade.

There are plenty of shade-loving perennials, annuals, and shrubs to choose from: foliage interest, delicate flowers, hostas, ferns and flowering ground covers all combine to create magnificent garden spaces to enjoy.

Hostas and ferns: shade garden staples

Hostas are hardy perennials, easy to grow, long-lived, and there are many sizes, textures and colours available to choose from. Their claim to fame is as wonderful and versatile foliage plants, but they also produce lovely, long stemmed flowers in the summer in fragrant hues of lavender, pink or white.

Waterslide Hosta, Great Expectations Hosta, Miracle Lemony, Cool as a Cucumber, Island Breeze, and Dancing Queen are just a few of the Hosta plants available to choose from.

Ferns are just as easy to grow as hostas and about as long-lived. Their grace and fine texture work well contrasted with the Hosta's broad leaves. Exquisite 'garden lace,'ferns are the ideal ornamental foliage plants, and in some cases, they taste good too! Fiddleheads are the young shoots of the Ostrich fern and a wonderful seasonal delicacy in many regions (when cooked properly, i.e. long enough).

'Wild woods'Maidenhair ferns, with their lacey, feathery green foliage thrive with practically no sun at all in shade gardens and forests alike. To provide contrast, the dark green to silver grey Crested Japanese Painted Fern is a taller variety, adding wonderful texture and colour to shade gardens.


Shade is not synonymous with drab! If you're looking for more colour and texture, consider these shade-loving perennials: Daylilies, Goat's Beard, Foxgloves, Foamflowers, Astilbe, and Bethlehem sage will all add both beauty and elegance to your shade garden.

Shrubs and conifers

Shade-garden shrubs and conifers have a huge role to play, both for their foliage interest and in some cases, for their spectacular blooms: Dogwoods, Rhododendrons, Hydrangeas, Azaleas, Variegated evergreens and Yews.


For their impulsive splashes of colour, annuals are ideal: Begonias, Impatiens, Coleus, and Fuchsias will all bring a smile. Cascading dichondra is effective both in rock gardens and containers.

Native woodland plants

Plants that fall into this category are increasingly popular in landscape designs and shade gardens in particular. Rightfully so! Because most woodland plants thrive in the shade or partially-shaded areas. However, in the interests of protecting our forests, our garden centers only carry plants that are certified to have been developed and grown at the garden center, and can be successfully transplanted to your garden.