Top Seasonal Blooms to Grow in Shade

Overview about seasonal blooms 

When planning a garden it is important to realize that not all gardens are or even can be in full sun.  Full sun is six hours a day or more of sunshine.  But buildings, trees, bushes, other structures and taller plants create areas in our yards and gardens where there are only shade conditions.  When we plant our gardens we also want to mix in flowers that will bloom at differing seasons and times of the season so that we get beautifully colored flowers throughout the growing season.  In this article we will help you find some flowering plants that grow in shade.  Some of these will be flowers that grow in partial shade which means less that four hours and more than one and a half hours of sun daily.  While some will be the best plants that grow in full shade, meaning less than one and a half hours of sunshine.  

How you can plan a Shade flowerbed

The first thing to do when planning your shade flowerbed is to determine which areas receive partial shade (1.5 to 4 hours sun) and which receive full shade (1.5 hours or less).  As the leaves fill out on the trees and bushes and as the days grow longer and the sun soars higher in the sky, this will likely change.  So keep these things in mind.  Most garden planning layers plants, meaning taller flowers will be planted in the back while medium height and shorter flowers will be planted toward the front.  This is done so that all the flowers can be seen and enjoyed.  Another gardening favorite is to plant clusters of flowers together.  Unlike the rows in your vegetable patch, flowers look better in clumps and in layers.  If you need help with your planning don’t hesitate to visit your local nursery and ask lots of questions!

Top Seasonal Blooms to Grow in Shade 

In order to help you get started I want to recommend some beautiful and hearty favorites.  


These beautiful flowers look like colorful small daisies.  Also known as Grecian windflowers they like some shade and light dry soil.  Anemones are about six inches tall and come in blue, white, pink, magenta and lavender.  

Autumn crocus

The autumn crocus is a ground hugging flower that sends up green leaves in the spring and then waits until early fall to shoot up its array of delicate colorful ground blossoms.  

Japanese anemone

This tall and stately perennial has green waxy leaves and beautiful white to pink saucer-like flowers with little green buttons in the center.  They adapt well to shade and bloom summer through late fall. 


Also known as Wishbone flower this low growing perennial has white, blue or pink flowers. It likes morning sun then plenty of shade with moist but well draining soil and blooms summer through fall..  

Oakleaf Hydrangea 

This deciduous shrub is native to the SE United States.  These shade happy bushes grow huge oakleaf shaped leaves that turn red or purple in the late fall.  They also produce gorgeous pyramids of white flowers in late spring to early summer that slowly turn purple over time.


Beautiful heart-shaped glossy green leaves are complimented by miniature light blue flowers in this fabulous shade loving ground cover plant.  


This early blooming ground hugging flower likes shade and can be found in a wide variety of colors.  As the long lasting blooms diminish, the beautiful green foliage becomes a lovely cover.


Also called the Urn orchid, bletilla is a hardy temperate orchid that is easy to care for and produces lovely strings of pink-purple flowers that do well in partial shade.


This beautiful flowering medicinal herb has lovely green leaves and produces plentiful long lasting blooms in almost any light conditions including shade.  


Astilbes are a favorite in shade gardens everywhere. These fern like plants produce beautiful tall plumes of flowers in a wide variety of colors.  Their sizes vary from a few inches tall to a few feet tall and although most blooms are pastel in color they range from white to purple. 


If you want to learn more about these and other fantastic flowering shade plants you will find your local nursery provides you with many examples and friendly helpful staff to answer questions.  And we would love to help you at Olmsted’s Nursery and olmstedsnursery.com.

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