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Tips for Flower Planting in the Shade

All plants need sunlight, but not all plants need the same amount of sunlight daily. While some flowers require at least six hours of sun a day, other flowers thrive in the shade. However, shade does not mean darkness. The small amount of sunlight that filters through trees, bushes, and other outdoor structures is enough to sustain some varieties of plants. As a gardener, you more than like have some shady spots in your yard under which you want to plant flowers. Planting shade flowers can be a gardening success with these simple tips and instructions.

Levels of Sun

Flowers in the ShadeBefore planting flowers in your shade garden, you must first understand the sun requirements of plants. Full sun plants need a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight each day. Both partial sun and partial shade plants require between three and six hours of direct sunlight daily. However, partial sun plants generally need more sun than partially shade plants. Deep shade plants need a maximum of three hours of direct sunlight every day. Only partial shade and deep shade flowers grow well in shady gardens. Check the information on your bulb or seed packets for the sun requirements of the plants you want in your garden. Also know that not all shade is created equal. Even full shade plants need some sunlight. Shady areas under trees and bushes are ideal for shade plants because of the sunlight that is filtered through the upper branches. It is also impossible to grow plants under any structure that completely obstructs the sun such as a building.

Planting Flowers in the Shade

Before planting your shade garden, you must first choose the plants you want to grow. Although some flowering plants will grow in the shade, the best types of plants for shady areas are leafy green plants. If your garden receives partial sunlight, choose any of the following popular partial shade plants:

  • Astilbe
  • Azalea
  • Columbine
  • Crocus
  • Daffodil
  • Foxglove
  • Hellebore
  • Impatien
  • Japanese anemone
  • Mint
  • Narcissus
  • Rhododendron
  • Siberian iris
  • Snowdrop
  • Tulip

If your garden is in full shade, choose any of the following popular full shade plants:

  • Bleeding heart
  • Celandine poppy
  • Foamflower
  • Hosta
  • Jacob’s ladder
  • Lily of the valley
  • Liverwort
  • Lungwort
  • Perennial geranium
  • Periwinkle
  • Primrose
  • Solomon’s seal
  • Toad lily
  • Trillium
  • Violet
  • Wild ginger
  • Wood aster

You can even combine shade plants by planting partial shade plants closer to the outside of the shady area and full shade in the middle. Once you have selected the flowers for your shade garden, plant the seeds or bulbs according to the directions on the package. As the plants grow, make sure to keep the soil moist but not soaked. One of the best things about a shade garden is that less sun means less water evaporation and therefore less watering.

Many gardeners have shady areas in which they wish to plants flowers. I have some beautiful burning bushes under which I have planted some lovely and shade-loving hostas. Planting shade flowers can result in a successful shade garden with these easy-to-follow gardening tips and instructions.


Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade, and Full Shade Defined for the Container Gardener:
Gardening in the Shade:
Gardening Tips: Flowers That Grow in Shade:

Image Credits

Flowers in the Shade © 2012 Heather Johnson

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