The Top 10 Shade-loving Perennials to Light Up Your Garden

Hosta produces tiny, lily-shaped blossoms in shades of white or purple in addition to its wonderful, stunning foliage. Adrienne Roethling, the garden director at the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, asserts that there are numerous variegated species, some of which have extraordinary streaks or ideal markings.


This hellebore cultivar develops lovely, double cup-shaped purple to black blooms and is an attractive evergreen that grows in a bushy, upright clump. Despite being challenging to shoot, black flowers are always beautiful in person, according to Cat Meholic, co-founder of Women in Horticulture.

Odyssey Hellebore Onyx

Although many phlox species can tolerate shade, woodland phlox is one of the most popular types. "A carpet of medium green, rounded leaves emerges in early spring, giving birth to 12 feet tall stalks with blue or white, five-petaled flowers.

Forest Phlox

Your yard will have year-round interest thanks to autumn fern. In the garden, its erect, V-shaped habit makes it a fantastic form, especially when combined with a striking hosta, according to Roethling. "In the spring, the fresh leaves have a scarlet colour. 

Fall Fern

Currently, epimediums, also known as barrenwort, are a common shade-loving perennial, but Sandy Claws is a favourite due to its leaves, which becomes a stunning maroon in the winter. 

Sandy Claws of the Barrenwort

The Virginia bluebell is a native of the Eastern United States, which extends west to the centre of the continent. According to Roethling, they first appear in the late winter with stalks of blue, tubular blooms and pale green, oval-shaped leaves.

Bluebells of Virginia

When properly tended for, Japanese painted fern can last the entire season, unlike many perennials that only provide interest for a few weeks. The plant has stems that arch and forms clumps. 

fern painted in Japanese

There are numerous shades of orange, red, pink, white, and even yellow in columbines. In a shady garden, any type will work, but if you need ideas, go to Corbett. The lovely native shrub produces pale-yellow, drooping blooms that draw pollinators.


Phacelia, a plant native to the southeastern United States that self-sows freely once planted in your garden, is excellent for filling in gaps in your landscape. Phacelia's gorgeous lavender flowers can quickly fill up vast gaps in your garden and are wonderful for early spring pollinators, according to Meholic. 


Maidenhair Fern of the North

A beautiful perennial, maidenhair fern thrives in regions of your garden that receive a lot of shadow. According to Meholic, the foliage's vivid green colour and its jet-black stems, which can be seen up close, "add interest and coolness to any design.