The Best Plants for the Shady Areas of Your Yard

Some areas of your house don’t get much sun. Certain corners, maybe whole sections, of your yard can be shady. And there’s nothing you can do, short of moving your house or repositioning the movement of the sun, to give those areas more sun. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have colorful flowers and plants in those shaded areas.

What are the Best Plants for the Shady Areas of Your Yard?

There are plants that can survive and thrive without a lot of exposure to sun. If you choose the right ones, you can transform a dark, barren space of your yard into something truly beautiful.

How To Start Gardening in Shady Areas

The first thing to do is figure out the areas of your yard or porch that will not receive the sun’s light. Start by looking out your window. Do a lap around your yard in the morning just as the sun is rising. Notice what areas are in the shade. Do this again that noon and in the afternoon. Do this once more as the sun is beginning to set. Are there areas of your yard that got less than 2 hours of sun during the day? It is in these areas you want to think about buying the right shady-area plants.
Next, mark off the area and figure out what you’d like to see there. Would you like to see more color? Lots of ground cover? Some taller plants with more low-growing foliage? What colors do you want to see there? What birds and bugs do you want to attract?
Lastly, start with just a couple of plants and see how they work in the shade. Ask your local plant store if they would recommend any special mulch or fertilizer for shady area gardening.

The Right Plants for Shady Areas

When thinking about plants that grow in the shade, most of us think of ferns and other flat-colored and non-blooming plants. Usually, we put those types of plants there to take up space and ignore. But there is a great selection of foliage plants that spread nicely and bloom beautifully.
These include:

  • Coleus. This plant is easy to grow and comes in a selection of colors and different leaves. They grow anywhere between 3 and 8 inches and will bring in hummingbirds.
  • Ferns. Yes, we mentioned ferns as a more flat, drab shade plant, but different varieties have made this plant perfect to adding color to your shady areas. Look for Silver Japanese Painted Fern, Brilliance Autumn Fern, and Lady in Red Cultivar.
  • Bleeding Heart. This perennial grows beautifully in the shade and offers a splash of pink, white, and bright red.
  • Jerusalem Sage. This ground-cover plants offers up horn-shaped blooms that turn pink to purple as it grows older.
  • Trillium. If, when you were thinking about your shade garden, want more bright whites and vibrant yellows, this wildflower will fill the space beautifully.
  • Mrs. Popple. This flower is fun to say and wonderful to look at. It is great for a border of your garden and offers magnificent purple flowers that dangle from stems among deep green leaves from June to October.

Shady areas do not have to be bare and boring. Choose one of these, or many other, shady area flowers and see your entire yard bloom. Even without the sun.