The city’s growing concrete jungles might be a boon to the economy, but they are indeed a bane to your gardens. Large trees in the same gardens are another cause for worry. Such gardens are either cast in complete shadow or get little rays of light for a few hours in the day before receding into darkness again. In that case, shade-loving plants are your only option for making your garden vibrant and magnificent.
Growing plants in such spots is a task because their roots find it challenging to grow amidst larger trees. Finally, not with standing your persistent efforts, a thriving garden only seems like a distant dream.
Despite the lack of light, such gardens might have a brighter side. Of course, not all plants can survive in the shade, but the plants that grow in the shade can add a new dimension to your green retreat. Ferns, grasses, and flowering plants bring a multitude of textures and shades. In addition, perennial ground cover will keep those shrouded spots alive with a green lustre all around the year.
Then prepare for an amazing reading journey because this blog is all about low-light plants, including what they are, different types of shade, a list of shade-loving plants, and care tips.
What Are Shade-Loving Plants and Types of Shade?
Shade-loving plants are naturally adapted to conditions of less light or partial sun. But before you choose your low-sunlight plants that grow in the shade, you should be familiar with the types of shade and the changes they undergo with the seasons.
There’s the eastern afternoon shade, the western morning shade, and the northern shade. Depending on the foliage of the canopy above, the shade can be dappled or dense. The sun’s angle in different seasons is also a deciding factor. A fully sheltered spot in spring can brighten up in the summer in the presence of a higher sun.
Essentially, there are two types of shade: partial shade and full shade. Partial shade is a situation of half-light and shade. The bed may receive direct sunlight, but only for a few hours in the day. Those plants are best protected from the mid-day Sun. Plants under canopies that let in filtered light are also protected from mid-day Sun.
On the other hand, if your plant bed receives less than 2 hours of direct sunlight, it is considered to be in full shade. They are most commonly found under large trees, buildings, or shrubberies.
Best Shade-Loving Plants That Grow in Shades
The followings are the list of shade-loving plants that grow in shades-
- Paper Plant
- Blue Lilyturf
- Wild Violets
- Foxtail Fern
- Elephant Ears Plants
- Shell Ginger
- Cast Iron Plants
- Dead Nettle
- Toad Lily
Let’s dive into the details of the plants that grow in the shade-
01. Paper Plant
The paper plants are the best shade plants for a garden. A broad-leafed perennial, this plant can grow up to a height of 10 feet. During the blooming season, the sheen of their green leaves is accompanied by the brightness of white flowers. They thrive best in moderate to full shade conditions.
Two hours of sunlight, slightly acidic soil and just enough watering to keep the soil moist are sufficient to ensure a smooth survival. These low-sunlight plants require annual pruning to keep them healthy. To ensure that your plant maintains a consistent growth rate, avoid pruning during the winter or frost.
02. Blue Lilyturf
These ground covers can be grown in any amount of light or shade. Blue lilyturf is also known as liriopemuscari; these low-light outdoor plants grow best in partial shade. During summers, spikes of purple-blue flowers amidst the narrow leaves add colour to your plant bed.
They are not too choosy about the soil, but it needs to be well-drained and preferably neutral to slightly acidic. Initially, they require regular watering, but once established, they are pretty hardy and only need little irrigation. Lilyturfs are an ideal option for optimising limited space, but they can be invasive with their rapid growth, which calls for pruning in late winter or early spring.
An astilbe is one of the best flowering plants for shade. Tiny and dense, these flowering perennials are meant to be kept away from the afternoon sun unless you want their bright plumes to fry to death. A partially shaded corner is best for these beauties. They prefer rich, well-drained soil and should not be planted under trees that compete for moisture. They can grow 1-3 feet tall, depending on their variety. Their pink, white, and violet flowers can be used in flower arrangements or left to grow in the company of other shade-loving plants.
04. Wild Violets
These edible low-light outdoor plants can grow well in partial shade with their dainty flowers. In addition, they can be used as accents if planted under trees or around water features. While their violet blooms add fragility to their appearance, they can look after themselves in well-drained and rich soil with occasional watering. However, their ready-to-spread nature makes it important to have a barrier to control invasion into undesirable areas.
In plain words, hostas are actual shade garden plants. They come in shades of green and blue and reward your garden with texture. Hostas need rich soil that is loamy enough to help their roots spread.
It is best to avoid dry conditions while caring for hostas. A consistent moisture supply keeps their substantial foliage alive. On the other hand, too much sun causes their leaves to burn and their foliage to fade. Therefore, hostas are a versatile choice if you have some dark spots to fill in your garden.
The hydrangeas come with large flower clusters and can reach heights of up to 15 feet, which makes them the best flowering plants for shade. They are most appropriate for growing in sheltered spots that let in the indirect morning light but shield the bed from the direct afternoon sun.
Hydrangeas require sufficiently rich and moist soil, but swampy soils can lead to root rot. To keep the soil consistently moist, use a drip and mulching to help keep the soil healthy.
07. Foxtail Fern
These evergreen plants flaunt symmetrical, arching and needle-like leaves. Despite being called a fern, it is not a fern. It uses the seeds from its bright red berries to grow more of its kind.
Foxtail ferns are partial shade plants. It can put up with the merciful morning light but must be protected from the unforgiving afternoon sun. Although delicate to look at, they only need minimum care after establishment.
Thriving in well-drained soil, Foxtail ferns have roots that can hold water, which is why a day’s watering in a week is good enough.
08. Elephant Ears Plants
How the plant gets its name is not a secret; the massive leaves resemble elephant ears. Their height varies up to 3 feet, depending on the variety. The lighter leaves can tolerate more sun, while the dark-leaved varieties do better in partial shade.
These shade garden plants love the rich, moist, and well-drained soil conditions accompanied by regular watering. Their voluminous leaves can add drama to your landscape and also bring balance to the composition among flowering plants.
09. Shell Ginger
It is one of the partial shade plants with bold leaves and yellow stripes. A full sun leads to the browning and burning of leaves.
Like most of the plants mentioned so far, well-drained, nutritious soil is recommended, along with regular watering. Only make sure the soil gets sufficient time to dry itself between successive irrigations. The play of dappled sunlight on its leaves makes it worthy of attention. It gets its name from drooping clusters of white flowers that resemble sea shells.
An Impatiens is a vibrant annual that can brighten up the dark, empty spots of your shade garden. Partial or deep shade is their home. Hence, under the tree is a perfect location for these low-light outdoor plants.
They have to be watered well and fertilised if you want them to thrive. Placing impatiens close to each other will not only add a cheerful glow but also help them grow faster.
11. Cast Iron Plant
Excellent for deep shade, these shade garden plants are as resilient as their name. Because of their shallow roots, they do not have to compete with trees and larger shrubs. In addition, they are drought-tolerant and do not need to be fertilized.
The pointy leaves offer a structural accent, growing 2 feet from the soil, and are a perfect choice if you’re looking for low-maintenance specimens.
12. Dead Nettle
Contrary to their name, these shade plants for gardens can bring a bare patch of ground to life. The dead nettles are valued for their silvery foliage and their little flowers, which come in shades of pink, purple, and white.
These ground covers can be grown in full to partial shade, where they will only need a little bit of water to survive. In sunnier spots, they crave more water. For low-maintenance gardens, dead nettles are an ideal choice.
The dicentra plants are popularly known as “bleeding hearts”. This shade-loving, romantic beauty gets its name from the dangling heart-shaped flowers. These shade plants for gardens are meant for partial shade, and deciduous trees are a recommended neighbourhood for them where they’ll stay protected from the summer sun after early bloom.
Give these plants rich, moist soil, but too much wetness can lead to root rot. Bleeding hearts may be low-maintenance, but the dramatic flowers that hang cautiously on vaulted stems need to be secured from strong winds.
14. Toad Lily
The toad lilies are the most exotic and best flowering plants for shade. However, if you’re looking for exotic-looking options for your garden, you won’t mind going for toad lilies. They flaunt their spotted orchid-like blooms in the late summer and have an obvious preference for partial to full shade conditions.
Fertile, well-draining soil and consistent watering are its primary needs. Once planted in the right place, they are quite easy to care for. They can grow to be 2-3 feet tall, and their tall, slender stalks make them better suited in wind-protected spots.
The heuchera plants are the best shade plants, as their ruffled leaves help add colour to a shady spot. These versatile plants are also known as coral bells, and they are ideal for partially shaded zones with average moisture levels. In full shade, you will need more patience while they grow to their full size.
These partial-shade plants can also tolerate the sun, but they will need water to stay healthy. They come in many colours, but it is the leaf type that will help you choose the best one for your climate. For colder and drier areas, thinner leaves grow well, whereas for warm and humid areas, fuzzier leaves do better.
With such amazing, colourful and vibrant low-light plants, it seems like a feather in your cap if you use some unique decorative planters. Here are some DIY Planters that you are going to love:
How to Care for Low-sunlight Plants?
Shade-loving plants are low-maintenance plants, though a little care makes your plant healthy and shiny. So, here you go with some care tips for low-sunlight plants.
- First and foremost, you must put the right plant in the right place.
- As their name suggests, low-light plants love bright but indirect light. So please keep them in such areas to avoid direct sunlight.
- Well-drained soil is best low-sunlight plants. So ensure that the soil is light and well-aerated to avoid holding too much water.
- Provide artificial lighting as per the plant’s requirements.
- Put down small amounts of natural organic fertilizers regularly at three-to-four-month intervals.
- If you plant them against a wall or in a corner, then ensure that you rotate them every couple of months to give them light on all sides.
In case you are a new plant parent, don’t worry. Gharpedia has a detailed guide on gardening basics to help you grow your plants like a pro. So, follow this guide and enjoy your gardening.
Gardening in the shade is challenging. It is not only about selecting a plant that can survive in the shade but also about understanding the nature of the shade itself. In addition, shade conditions may change; some plants will thrive while others will have to be replaced. A little bit of study and a decent amount of patience can promise you a lovely-looking garden full of colour and texture, even in the shade. Now that you’re equipped with this new knowledge, your chances of going wrong with shade gardening are slim. All you need to do is sit back and let the garden do the talking.
After learning about these magnificent shade-loving plants, you will surely want to grab some for your garden. But what about your home? Don’t worry; Gharpedia is here to help. Go through the blog below to learn about the shade-loving house plants:
15 Best Low Light Indoor Plants That Will Thrive in Your Bedroom
Brickly – Sakshi