10 Colorful Flowers That Grow in Shade

Love flowers but think your garden doesn't get enough sun? These shade flowers grow happily even without a lot of direct sunlight.

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Shade garden plant combination
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Why Shade Gardening?

Often times those shady spots in your garden are neglected, unnoticed, or even cause anger by homeowners, looking to plant their favorite flowers that just won’t grow without plenty of sunshine. But there’s no reason to cut down your beautiful maple tree, or completely pave in that section of your yard that’s shaded by your house the entire day. Veteran garden editor and designer Luke Miller┬ásays that he sometimes prefers shade gardening to sunny spaces. “Shade gardening is overlooked by many homeowners, sometimes even by avid gardeners. Let’s face it, there are many more opportunities for colorful flowers in a sun-loving garden. But here’s the rub: shade gardens can be quite attractive themselves. And they almost always take less maintenance, watering and fertilizing than sunny gardens. Most people would say that’s a good thing.”

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Bleeding Heart Flowers
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Bleeding Heart

It’s no secret where this unique plant got its name. Delicate, heart-shaped petals open to reveal white, drop-like pieces, They’re a truly striking addition to any garden, and they thrive in shade gardens. These shade flowers grow in USDA Hardiness Zones three through nine.

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Lily flowers with water drops on leaves after the rain
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Lily of the Valley

Shade flowers like these tiny white petals will even better without too much sun. The lily of the valley flowers emit an enchanting fragrance in late spring and early summer and will brighten up those shady dark corners of your yard. “Lily of the valley is a perfume factory,” Miller adds. “Not to mention the bell-shaped flowers are adorable.” These short plants make a great ground cover.

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Macro of blue flowers with nice blurred background

Alpine Forget-Me-Not

Add clouds of color to your garden with a patch of tiny azure-blue flowers. They thrive in dry shade, conditions that can be particularly difficult.

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Polemonium caeruleum, known as Jacob's-ladder or Greek valerian close-up
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Jacob’s Ladder

These bell-shaped, purple perennials adapt well to flower gardens and tolerate both shade and sun. Miller also advises filling in space around your shade flowers. “I highly recommend mulching with shredded leaves to copy what happens in nature. The Shredded leaves will quickly become humus, which is like forest duff that nourishes plants and protects the soil. It also adds a lot of microbes, which are beneficial to plant roots.”

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White classy solomon's seal flower

Solomon’s Seal

Gracefully arching stems support clusters of tubular white flowers and long, bright green leaves. A perfect plant for a shady flower border. Knowing how much sun and shade a plant need is important to its growth and success.

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anemone blanda blue

Anemone Blanda Blue

Also known as the winter windflower, Anemone Blanda Blue thrives in partial shade. Its purply-blue, daisy-like flowers will add a festive touch to your patch.

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Pulmonaria Flowers lungwort medicinal plant
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These are good groundcover plants for deep shade, with hairy, dark green leaves spotted with white. In early spring, clusters of funnel-shaped flowers open pink and then turn blue. Next, check out more of our favorite red flowers for home gardens.

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A bunch of blue violets
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Viola is a huge genus of flowering plants including some 400 to 500 species. Leaves of these species are usually heart-shaped and scalloped-shaped, while the five-petaled flowers come in scores of colors.

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Cowslip Primrose

Who needs sunshine when you have a carpet of yellow or red flowers with crinkled bright-green foliage? Shade flowers like this bring plenty of brightness to any garden, even without direct sunlight.

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Blooming Begonia tuberhybrida close up

Tuberous Begonias

These flowers are popular for their variety, coming in red, orange, yellow, white, salmon, or pink blooms. Tuberous begonias blossom throughout the summer, thriving in shady spots where few other plants with long bloom periods and showy flowers can grow. Miller adds, “The amount of shade will determine just what you can plant. A tuberous begonia will grow in dappled shade, but not heavy shade. That kind of work is for ferns.”

[Sources: Localgardener.net, enjoy-your-garden.net, plantcare.com]

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest