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3 Best Flowering Plants to Grow in Shady Areas

Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.

This Chinese globeflower is one of my favorite shade-loving plants. I love the way it brightens up darker corners of the garden.

This Chinese globeflower is one of my favorite shade-loving plants. I love the way it brightens up darker corners of the garden.

Most gardens have at least some shady areas, which can present challenges when it comes to finding pretty flowers to grow. Luckily, there are numerous shade-loving plants that produce gorgeous flowers and are quite low-maintenance; in this article, I'm going to tell you about my top three!

First, let's clarify what I mean by shade. There are different depths of shade. All three plants in this article can grow in dappled or part shade with some moisture retention in the soil. For example, none of these plants would do well under a mature conifer tree.

Though the Chinese globeflower—also known as the 'Golden Queen'—has a sunny appearance, it thrives in the shade.

Though the Chinese globeflower—also known as the 'Golden Queen'—has a sunny appearance, it thrives in the shade.

1. Chinese Globeflower (Trollius chinensis)

Our first plant is a little beauty from the buttercup family—the Chinese globeflower, also known as the 'Golden Queen'. Who wouldn't want the brightness of these sunny flowers beaming out from shadier spots in the garden?

The plant has palmately lobed leaves and produces bowl-shaped flowers in either yellow, white or orange.

Tips for Growing Globeflowers

  • Keep soil moist. Globeflowers can be grown in partial shade or full sun, but they do need moist soil.
  • Cut back and fertilize after flowering. In terms of care, cut back hard after flowering and apply a balanced liquid fertilizer to encourage further blooms.

This is a very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures below -20˚C (-4˚F).

Siberian bugloss, reminiscent of forget-me-nots, is a pretty plant that can really brighten up a shady garden.

Siberian bugloss, reminiscent of forget-me-nots, is a pretty plant that can really brighten up a shady garden.

2. Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla)

My second plant is Siberian bugloss, and I recommend the variegated varieties. Variegation is a mutation in the production of chlorophyll, the chemical that turns plants green. The result is cream or yellow splodges, stripes or patterns. These lighter colors are much valued among gardeners because when a variegated plant is planted in a shady position, it really lifts an area that might otherwise be just a dense, uninteresting, green.

Siberian bugloss has heart-shaped leaves with a cream edge, and some varieties are overlaid with silver. It produces airy sprays of light-blue flowers in spring.

Tips for Growing Siberian Bugloss

  • Don't fret too much about the soil. Grow it in full or part shade in any ordinary garden soil, including quite dry soil.
  • Watch out for reversion. Reversion is the only thing you really need to worry about with this plant. If you notice any leaves that are pure green, rip them out of the base. If you leave them, your plant will eventually lose its variegation.

Siberian bugloss is hardy to -20˚C (-4˚F) and makes a good low-maintenance alternative to hostas in shade gardens, as slugs and deer don't bother with it.

The flowers of the false Solomon's seal smell just like honey!

The flowers of the false Solomon's seal smell just like honey!

3. Fool Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)

My final plant is fool Solomon's seal (also known as false Solomon's seal or feathery false lily of the valley). Different from real Solomon's seal, this plant has arching stems with fluffy, cream-white flowers, sometimes followed by reddish berries—and it smells like honey. I guarantee it'll bring a smile to your face when it flowers each spring.

Tips for Growing False Solomon's Seal

  • Ensure soil is moist but well-drained. This plant thrives in partial or deep shade and in moist but well-drained soil.
  • Stop and smell the flowers. Don't forget to smell those delicious honey-scented blooms!

Like the other two plants on this list, false Solomon's seal is hardy to -20˚C (-4˚F). For more information about how to care for this plant, see the video below!

Happy Growing!

All three of these shade-loving plants are easy and trouble-free. I wonder which one you'll choose!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Rachel Darlington

Comments

Rachel Darlington (author) from Ireland on May 21, 2021:

Good afternoon and thank you for your great comment. Yes, the false Solomon's seal really attracts the bees. Such a great plant that I now have it in three different places in my garden. Happy growing.

Rachel Darlington (author) from Ireland on May 21, 2021:

I think any plant that is nicely scented is a real bonus. I am sure you would love the false Solomon's seal. Thanks for taking the time to comment and happy growing.

Rachel Darlington (author) from Ireland on May 21, 2021:

Me too. Aren't variegated plants the best! Greetings from Ireland to Hawaii and wishing you a great day.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 21, 2021:

All three of these shade-loving plants appear to be hardy and can withstand freezing temperatures. That is a plus! I like the thought of a flower that smells like honey. I would imagine that it attracts bees.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 20, 2021:

The Chinese globeflowers are beautiful. I love the thought of a plant that smells like honey!

Viet Doan from Big Island, Hawaii on May 19, 2021:

Great tips for for shade-loving plants, Rachel! Siberian bugloss looks gorgeous - especially because I'm obsessed with variegated species. And any plant with blue flowers!

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