We all seem to have those trouble spots in our gardens that have more shade than sun so we are left wondering what to plant in those areas. Well for shade gardens there are actually multiple plants that can be added to add color and shape to create a splendid garden bed. By laying out a mixture of perennials, shrubs, ferns, and even some grass that do well in shade, creating a garden in darker area will become an easier task.


Empress Wu Hosta

Large selections of perennials are available for shade gardens. Some of the most common are Astilbe, Hosta, Bleeding hearts, Heuchera, Bigroot geranium, Ajuga, Lady’s Mantle, Columbine, Rue, and Primrose. Some other types of shade perennials are Lungwort, Dead Nettle, Helleborus, and Anemone along with many others. All of these perennials do well in shade and flower during the year with bright displays of color. A mix of the different perennials in a shade garden will provide various color and blooms throughout the warm season.


PJM Rhododendron

Our top choices for shrubs that grow in shade are Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Barberry, Viburnum, and Witch hazel.  Azaleas and Rhododendrons prefer a filtered sunlight doing well in a medium shade area, and both give a beautiful show of colorful flowers. Barberry is another good choice growing 3-4’ tall staying a burgundy color year round and is deer resistant. Viburnum shrubs have a nice bloom and can tolerate quite a bit of shade. They range in height from 2’ to 6’. Witch hazel is tree like shrub that blooms in the fall with a yellow spidery flower. It can tolerate lots of shade and grows well in wooded areas.


Ostrich Fern

Most ferns grow well in the shade. The shoots that come off of each plant take well to little sunlight making ferns an excellent addition to any shade garden. We recommend the Ghost Fern, Autumn Brilliance Fern, and the Ostrich Fern.


Choices for grasses that do well in the shade are varieties of Carex, Mondo Grass, Chasmanthium, Calamagrostis, and Hakonechloa grasses. Carex or sedge stand anywhere from 6” to 24” tall and either will grow in clumping form or spreading form based on the type. Some Carex varieties to check out are: Blue Zinger, Ice Ballet, and Palm sedge.  Mondo grass grows as a ground cover and stands about 6” tall. One of the best types to check out is the Black Mondo Grass which not only grows well in shade, it is also deer resistant.

Black Mondo Grass

Chasmanthium or Northern sea oats is a grass that stands about 28” to 40” tall becoming taller with the growth of plumes. Calamagrostis also known as feather reed grass will grow in a light shade and stands 48” getting taller with plume growth. Hakonechloa or Japanese forest grass is a creeping grass that can tolerate partial shade and grows 14” tall. We recommend the All Gold and Aureola varieties for best results in shade.

Stop by to find a plant or many plants that can complete your shade garden. At Knapp Valley we carry the varieties that have been listed above or similar varieties of plants meant to grow in a shady environment and would love to help you find the plant that fits your needs. Hope to see you soon!