Just because you have a shady spot in your garden, that doesn’t mean you can’t plant anything there. While most plants prefer sunlight, there are tons of other ones that can grow in the shade and live a long life.

Plants that grow in the shade are often referred to as perennial plants, but that’s not their only definition. Perennial plants are plants that have a long life cycle, allowing them to go through one or two years without much trouble. Sometimes they might seem to have died on the surface, but their roots are resilient enough that they grow back again once the hardship has passed.

And yes, there are MANY different ideas for what to plant in the shade. What we’ve separated here are just some suggestions of nice and accessible plants you can try!

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. – Luther Burbank


The Aster is easy to plant and beautiful to look at. Source: Almanac

The Aster comes in a variety of hues that will bring a nice explosion of color to your garden. They are reminiscent of daisies, with a star-like shape and bright colors. They tend to bloom during Fall with the help of full sun and their different types can grow from 8 inches to 8 feet tall, depending on what you get.

Toad Lily

Toad lily
The toad lily comes in many colors. Source: Carolyn’s Shade Garden

Toad Lilies are incredibly easy to grow in the shade and blooms flowers in the style of orchids, usually in shades of blue to purple. The variant you see above is called the “Sinonome!


The Daylily makes a bold statement. Source: Gardener’s Path

A fantastic pick for beginner gardeners, the Daylily (Hemerocallis) yields colorful blossoms and requires minimal maintenance while being quite resistant to most conditions. And unlike some of the more subtle picks on this list, the Daylily is bright, bold and tall!


The Hydrangea will grow bigger every year. Source: Gilmour

The Hydrangea is a perennial shrub that will grow larger and larger after every year, so it’s a good idea to plant it somewhere with a bit of room to grow. That way, in a year’s time, you can see it’s full glory!


The Ajuga grows quite fast. Source: Wikipedia

The Ajuga is one of the very best plants to grow in the shade. They grow nice shrubs with rich foliage and blue flowers during the spring. The maintenance is basic, but you will have to control the growth to a degree since the Ajuga can spread quite easily. 


The Phlox is a simple and subtle shade flower. Source: Garden Design

These summer flowers are for the big and bold – they come in shades of purple and white, and grow lush foliage.


The Speedwell has a very particular silvery shade. Source: Gardening Know-how

Another incredibly easy plant to maintain and that will grow into something beautiful and lush. The Speedwell (Veronica umbrosa) is discreet, growing up to six inches tall, but mingles beautifully in your garden.


The Lungwort has richly textured foliage. Source: Lungwort

OK, it’s a very unfortunate name for a plant – or anything really, but the Lungwort (also called a Pulmonaria) blossoms lovely blue and pink clusters of flowers with textured foliage. The texture is where the odd name comes from, because of its lung-shaped formations – although looking at it now, we really wish someone said it looked like Rorschach drawings, which would have made for a much cooler name.


The Deadnettle can spread to compete with other plants. Source: WVU

The Deadnettle grows in small clusters of pink and white flowers that can spread and compete with other plants. Visually it’s a discrete plant that looks good by itself or as a complement to other plants, but be sure to keep it moist, otherwise it might dry out and turn brown.

Just be sure to trim it every now and then, because it will look at other plants and be like “I’m coming for you."

Foam Flower

Foam flower
The foam flower grows a bit taller than most. Source: Virginia Living Museum

Seriously, whoever named these needs to step up their game.

Jokes aside, the Foam Flower can grow up to 10 inches and blossoms a foam-like cascade of white flowers, making it discreet but still remarkable in their own way. As the name suggests, the foam-like flowers seem to almost hang in the air as they get denser. 

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