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Shade Loving Plants

Contributed by Wendy Richard-Mount

Whether we’re seasoned gardeners or just starting out, shaded borders and wooded

areas of our properties are easily neglected.

bleeding heart Richard-Mount Photograph

Shaded areas, such as under tree canopies and between buildings, deserve just

as much attention as well-managed annual and perennial beds.

There is no shortage of colors, sizes, shapes or cost when it comes to adding

something special to the shaded areas of a landscape.

With a bit of research and thought, you can create visually stunning and practical

areas in your yard.

Shade loving perennials can give depth, and help a small area appear larger in the right planting.

From tall and narrow to miniature varieties, you can embark on a new adventure

to create a perfect backyard oasis.

Where to Begin

A good place to start is to ask some questions. Are you trying to accomplish a focal point? Are you trying to connect one or more gardens together? Knowing the soil type is important to aid shade plants to flourish. Is it wetland or arid?

Try visiting your local Garden Center for ideas.

Avoid Weed Transference

To prevent the transfer of noxious or invasive weeds, refrain from accepting transplant gifts from thoughtful friends or neighbors. The safest bet is to always purchase plants from a

Garden Center or nursery. Also, a Garden Center will be able to advise of specific planting instructions.

Easy Growing Flowers for Beginners

A few of my favorite shade plants are:


One of the easiest perennial flowers to grow. Plumes of flowers in pink, lavender, red,

white and salmon rise above fern-like foliage.

Bleeding Heart

Heart-shaped flowers dangling from arching stems. Blooms can be pink or white. It loves

heavy shade and looks great in a woodland garden.

bleeding heart Richard-Mount Photograph

Lily of the Valley

A shade flowering perennial with white, bell-shaped flowers that smell very sweet and

makes a good ground cover under large ornamental trees.


Showy flowers and heavenly fragrance make peonies a much beloved perennial. The

peony needs afternoon shade in warmer climates. The showy flowers can be vibrant

shades of white, yellow, pink and red.

peony Richard-Mount Photograph


This plant has beautiful silvery foliage or randomly splashed with silver. Lungwort flowers

in spring and its blossoms are quite showy, ranging in color from white, pinks and blues

— with different colors often on the same plant.

Heuchera (Coral bells)

There’s no end to the varieties in leaf color: silvery, burgundy, purple-black, salmon to

orange. With heuchera, the foliage provides visual excitement.


Huge heart-shaped leaves in splashy colors offer plenty of drama. They’re tropical so if

you live in a cool climate, plant in pots so they can be brought indoors and enjoyed

inside over winter.

One of my go to online tutorials for gardening ideas and advice can be found using


Master Gardner Wendy Richard-Mount has been gardening and landscaping in the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia for eight years.

Wendy specializes in both residential and industrial design and maintenance.

She is also a photographer, writer and artist and creates art using elements found in nature.

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