The Cool Side of Gardening

There are numerous plants that do well in the sun, but there are fewer that prosper in the shade. Shade-loving plants thrive with four hours or less of direct sunlight. Typically, we plant shade plants on the east and north side of houses, as well as under trees. If your spot receives the hot afternoon shade, seek advice to determine if shade plants are indeed the right option for you.

Some of our favorites are not your typical shade plants. We like to choose plants that have interesting flowers, foliage and habit. Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) loves deep shade. It will grow upright to about 18-24″ and typically has pink flowers, that resemble a head of a turtle.

Bergenia is a vigorous grower, but not invasive. Typically flowering in pink, this plant provides about 18″ of height, and will eventually create a small ground cover. The waxy leaves are beautiful.

Ligularia is one of the only shade plants to provide a yellow flower. This plant needs moist soils and does not like the afternoon sun. Heights vary by variety, some reaching 2-3′ tall.

A true ground cover option is Lamium. This plant can become aggressive, so it is important to maintain it and prevent spreading to unwanted areas. The leaves are typically green with silver margins and bear flowers in pink or purple.