The answer is. Plants get energy from light through a process called photosynthesis. How much energy they get affects the growth of the plant. Without any light,
plants would not be able to produce the energy they need to grow.
Luckily for us gardeners with shady gardens. Not all plants need the same amount of light to thrive.
Plants that will grow in shady areas are not always very colourful. However, often have interesting and attractive foliage, the leaves
are usually larger than normal sun loving plants. The large leaves enable the plant gather as much light as possible from the shady conditions they grow in.
I have listed a selection of plants that will tolerate shady conditions. They
include flowers, shrubs, perennials, hedgerow plants, and bulbs that will tolerate some shade and can also be grown in containers
positioned in partial shade.
On this page I have listed a selection of shade tolerant plants that will grow in a shady
garden. To better understand the different degrees of shade and how to measure the amount of light that shines into your garden read my article here. Understanding shade in a garden
Best Bulbs for shade
Most Bulbous plants can thrive in the shade of deciduous trees providing they are given an annual mulch.
- Anemone blanda blue/white-pink flowers. Height and spread 15cm (6in).
- Convallaria majalis (lily-of-the-valley) ? scented, white flowers. Height 23cm (9in) and spread 30cm (12in).
- Cyclamen hederifolium spread; pink flowers. Height 15cm (6in) and spread 10-13cm (4-5in).
- Galanthus (snowdrops) white flowers. Height: 10-22cm (4-9in) and spread 5-8cm (2-3in).
- Hyacinthoides non-scripta (bluebell) blue or white flowers. Height 20-40cm (8-16in) and spread 8cm (3in).
- Narcissus bulbocodium yellow flowers. Height 10-15cm (4-6in) and spread 5-8cm (2-3in).
These Shrubs will grow under high, broken or deciduous canopies.
- Buxus sempervirens Height and spread up to 15ft.
- Daphne laureola pale yellow-green flowers in late winter and early spring. Height 3ft and spread 5ft.
- Gaultheria shallon pinky-white flowers in late spring and early summer; acid to neutral soils only. 4ft and spread 5ft.
- Mahonia aquifolium yellow flowers in spring. Height: 3ft) and spread 5ft.
- Ruscus aculeatus bright red berries from late summer to winter. Height 30in and spread 3ft. makes good ground cover
Perennial plants that tolerate shade and will grow in shade.
- Alchemilla mollis yellow flowers from early summer-early autumn.Height 24in and spread 30in.
- Anemone x hybrida white or pink flowers from late summer to mid autumn. Height: 4-5ft.
- Bergenia pink or white flowers in spring. Height 8-18in and spread 12-24in.
- Hostas grown mainly for foliage, but also have blue or white flowers in late summer. Height 4-24in and spread 1-3ft. Slugs love them.
- Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae greenish-yellow flowers from mid spring to early summer.Height 24in.
- Helleborus x hybridus variable, coloured flowers from mid winter to late spring. Height and spread 18in.
Annuals balsam, begonias, wax browallia, catharanthus
(vinca), coleus, feverfew, fuchsias, impatiens, lobelia, mimulus, salvia, dwarf, torenia (wishbone flower)
Plants for planting in woodland (under trees) and hedgerow
- Dryopteris filix-mas fern grown for foliage. Height and spread 4ft.
- Digitalis (foxglove) pink, purple, white or yellow flowers in summer. Height: 12in-4ft
- Epimedium pink, white or yellow flowers in spring. Height 6-24in.
- Hedera (ivy) used as ground cover. Spread up to30ft.
- Lamium (dead nettle) pink, white or yellow flowers in summer. Height 2-8in and spread of 4in-3ft.
- Luzula sylvatica (woodrush) grass-like. Height 2ft when in flower with an indefinate spread.
A selection of plants to grow in shade
vegetables with grow in shade providing they get three to six hours of sun, or fairly constant dappled shade, each day.
If your garden gets 3 to 6 hours of sun each day, your choice will be restricted, but there are still quite a lot of useful salad,
herbs and vegetable plants you can grow.
Vegetables, Salad and herbs that will grow in shady areas;
Salad Greens, such as leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, rocket, winter purslane, land cress, lambs lettuce and cress.
Broccoli, cauliflower, peas, beets, Brussels sprouts, radishes, Swiss Chard.
Leafy greens, such as collards, mustard greens, spinach, and kale beans, chard, kale, spinach and sorrel.
Asian leaves, including Chinese cabbage, the mustards, pak choi and mizuna.
Herbs. These herbs are all well suited to less sun: parsley, mint, chives and garlic
chives, lovage, coriander, chervil and wild garlic.