Best Herbaceous Plants & Flowers For A Shady Spot

If you have a shady garden, you may well be wondering what to do. Shade can make it harder to grow some plants. A shady garden, however, can be seen as an opportunity rather than a problem. The key thing is to understand is that the success of any garden lies in choosing the right plants for the conditions where you live. To that end, here are some tips to help you choose herbaceous plants and flowers for shady spots in your garden:

SnowdropsFor Deep Shade:

There are plants that will thrive even in the deepest shade. Some spring bulbs, like snowdrops,winter aconites and some narcissus are well suited to such conditions. Other plants for deep shade include wood spurge, iris foetidissima, Acanthus mollis, Alchemilla mollis, Geranium nodosum, Dicentra, Oyster mushrooms logTradescantia (spider lily), Germanium phaeum (dusky cranesbill), Viola odorata and a range of different ferns. You may also like to consider cultivating a mushroom bed or mushroom logs in a deeply shaded and damp area.

ComfreyFor Dappled Shade & Partial Shade:

For shade that is dappled, light or only partial, there is of course a wider range of plants that can be grown. You can begin to consider some edible crops and create a forest garden filled with useful things. Hostas can be edible, as can some other plants often just used as ornamentals. Remember to take care of the bees and other beneficial insects by planting flowers such as foxgloves, aquilegia and brunnera, for example. Comfrey and borage are two extremely useful plants to place beneath trees and will also help attract beneficial insects to your garden.

Dry shadeFor Dry Shade:

If you are looking at an area beneath trees, this shaded area can sometimes be particularly dry, since trees have drawn the moisture from the soil. Barrenwort, cranesbill, geraniums, astrantia, hellebores and cyclamen are amongst the plants that may work well. A good layer of organic mulch will also help retain what soil moisture there is and will generally improve the soil in dry shade.

DicentraFor Damp Shade:

Ferns are often a go-to for damp or boggy shade but there are other options. Bleeding heart (Dicentra) will do well in wetter conditions. Monarda, Astilbe, Actaea, Solomon's Seal, Heuchera, Sedge, Lily-of-the-Valley, wood cranesbill and hosta may all be good options. In the interests of creating a valuable, diverse ecosystem, you can also allow some 'weeds' that are ideally suited to these conditions to grow.