6 vibrant flowering plants for shade gardens

Tired of trying to plant flowers on the shady side of your home? Here are four flowering plants that thrive in the shade, so you can keep your garden blooming no matter where it is.

6 vibrant flowering plants for shade gardens

1. Foamflower

Tolerant of many types of soil, this woodland native grows freely as a ground cover.It needs partial to full shade and blooms from mid-spring to early summer. Flowers are white and pinkish white. They can be 15 to 30 centimetres (six to 12 inches) high and wide.

Growing advice: Spreads rapidly in cool, moist, humus-rich soil.

Why we love it: Its airy blooms provide interesting texture when planted among broad-leaved plants like hosta and caladium.

2. Foxglove

This classic flower is tall and elegant, with spires that lend a romantic tone to the shade garden. It needs partial to full shade and blooms spring through summer. Flower colours include white, cream, yellow, apricot, pink, purple, red, golden brown and coppery rose. They can be 45 centimetres (18 inches) to 1.8 metres (six feet) high; 30 to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 inches) wide.

Growing advice: It's an early bloomer; try for a late-summer flush by cutting the main flower spike back to the first set of leaves when only a few blooms remain on top.

Why we love it: Known for its impressive floral display, foxglove brings a welcome show of colour to the shade garden. But if you have animals or small children, be careful; it's poisonous if ingested.

3. Lungwort

Thanks to its reliability, beautiful blooms and interesting leaves, lungwort has become one of the brightest lights in the shade garden. It requires partial shade and blooms all throughout spring. These funnel-shaped flowers come in blue, red, pink, white and purple

Growing advice: After the flowers fade, remove stems and wilted leaves to encourage a second flush of leaves that form low-growing, strikingly marked mounds.

Why we love it: A dual-purpose plant valued for both flowers and foliage, lungwort is easy to care for and quickly naturalizes at shady sites.

4. Sweet woodruff

Tiny white blooms and delicately scented foliage make this a perfect ground cover for a shady woodland garden. It needs partial to full shade and also blooms throughout the spring. It bears star-shaped, fragrant white flowers.

Growing advice: Prefers moist conditions. It spreads by creeping roots and self-seeding to form a solid mat of dense ground cover.

Why we love it: An easy-care plant, sweet woodruff is deer-resistant. When stepped on or brushed against, its foliage smells like sweet, freshly mown hay.

5. Caladium hybrids

Grown for their intense foliage, these tropical beauties come in various hues of red, pink, white, green and yellow-green. They need partial sun to shade. They can be 30 to 60 centimetres (12 to 24 inches) high and wide.

Growing advice: If planting tubers, wait until temperatures are consistently warm. Bury them about five centimetres (two inches) deep with the knobs facing up. But don't worry if you plant them upside down; they orient themselves as they grow.

Why we love it: A true shade-garden showstopper, caladiums paint shady spaces with unexpected colour. Pair their broad foliage with delicate plants like astilbe and fern.

6. Japanese painted fern

An adaptable beauty, this fern features red highlights on weeping, silvery-grey fronds, evoking the shady serenity of a Japanese garden. It needs partial to full shade. It can also grow up to 30 to 50 centimetres (12 to 20 inches) high; up to one metre (three feet) wide.

Growing advice: Divide in spring, or propagate from spores.

Why we love it: A natural in the shade garden, it pairs well with other shade favourites like hosta, astilbe and coralbells. Plus, deer don't like it!

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