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Plants for Shade: Creating a Fabulous Woodland Garden

Are you looking for a plant that can handle some shade and still look fabulous? Think woodland floor! Use liberal amounts of peat, compost and organic matter when planting these plants. Avoid over-watering and provide good air circulation for healthy plants!

The plants on this list are for full, filtered and partial shade. Full shade means less than 3 hours of direct sunlight a day. Partial shade is about 3-6 hours of direct sun a day. Filtered is dappled sunlight through the trees (this is the easiest shade to grow in). Avoid planting these plants in full sun to prevent sun-scalding damage.


  • Acanthus
  • Ajuga
  • Anemones
  • Aquilegia (Columbine)
  • Asarum (Wild Ginger)
  • Astilbe
  • Athyrium (Ferns)
  • Bergenia
  • Blue Oat Grass
  • Brunnera
  • Campanula
  • Carex
  • Columbine
  • Dicentra (Bleeding Heart)
  • Digitalis
  • Dryopteris (Ferns)
  • Geranium
  • Hamelin Ornamental Grass
  • Hakone Grass
  • Hakonechloa
  • Hellebores (Lenten Rose)
  • Hepatica
  • Hemerocallis (Daylilies)
  • Heuchera
  • Hostas
  • Iris (Siberian)
  • Ligularia
  • Lobelia
  • Lupine
  • Lysimachia
  • Mertinesia (Bluebells)
  • Myosotis (Forget-me-nots)
  • Oenothera
  • Polemonium (Jacobs Ladder)
  • Primula
  • Pulmonaria
  • Solomon’s Seal
  • Tiarella (Foam Flower)
  • Tradescantia (Spiderwort)
  • Trillium


  • Begonias
  • Browalia
  • Caladiums
  • Coleus
  • Fuchsia
  • Hypoestes (Polka Dot plant)
  • Impatiens
  • Lobelia
  • Magilla Perilla
  • Mimulus
  • Pansies
  • Torenia

Ground Covers

  • Ajuga
  • Anemone Tomentosa
  • Bergenia
  • Bunchberry
  • Euonymus
  • Helleborus
  • Honeysuckle
  • Ivy
  • Lamium
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Liriope (Lily turf)
  • Liriope
  • Lysimachia
  • Moss (Irish)
  • Pachysandra
  • Sweet Woodruff
  • Vinca Minor (Myrtle)
  • Violas


  • Burning Bush (Euonymus)
  • Clethra (Summersweet)
  • Fothergilla
  • Honeysuckle Vine (Lonicera)
  • Hydrangea spp.
  • Hypericum
  • Itea (Virginia Sweetspire)
  • Kerria
  • Summersweet (Clethra)
  • Viburnum


  • Cercis Canadensis (Redbud)
  • Cornus spp. (Dogwood)
  • Hammamelis (Witch Hazel)
  • Hemlock
  • Japanese Maples
  • Magnolia

Evergreens & Broadleaf Evergreens

  • Azaleas (need winter shade)
  • Boxwood (Buxus)
  • Daphne
  • Holly (Ilex)
  • Kalmia (Mountain Laurel)
  • Katsura
  • Microbiota
  • Japanese Pieris (Pieris Japonica)
  • Rhododendron (need winter shade)
  • Yews (Taxus)

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