Most gardens have at least one dark or shady spot, and many of us have very shady gardens. Trees, buildings and fences can be the key to blocking the sun, and we have plenty of tips discussing how to deal with this. Also, having a shady garden doesn’t mean you can’t have your own plant-packed garden, you just need to be aware of the best varieties to grow!

While a shady garden can be considered a challenge to overcome, it is actually an opportunity to grow some of the most beautiful varieties of flowers and veg. Many shade-loving plants include varieties of shrubs, bulbs, climbing plants, annuals and biennials, perennials and even vegetables which can still thrive in partial shade.

To hit the ground running, let’s run through some very simple tips that you can begin with to understand what’s restricting sunlight to your garden and how to fight against the shade!

Top Tips for Shady Gardens

  • Is there a tree in the way? Try removing the bottom layers of branches to allow more light through and raise the shading shield!
  • Increase the sense of light by painting your walls and fences a light and bright shade. Opt for pale coloured paving stones too!
  • Mirrors will reflect light and give the illusion of a brighter space. They also reflect warmth from the sun!
  • Pick the right plants that not only survive in shaded conditions but are also bright in colour. Like white and pink plants which will definitely stand out!
  • Establish your type of shade as there are different kinds. ‘Light shade’ is open to the sky but no direct sunlight. ‘Semi-shade’ receives 3 – 6 hours of direct sun throughout mid-summer. ‘Dappled shade’ receives light through trees. ‘Moderate shade’ receives 2 – 3 hours of direct sunlight throughout mid-summer. ‘Deep shade’ receives less than 2 hours of direct sunlight and is often in constant shade. Finding out what you have will help you determine the plants for you!
  • Improve your soil and make sure it’s on top of its game to support your plants where the sunlight cannot! Read our soil type guide full of tips.
  • Do you have dry or damp shade? Working out what you have will help when it comes to planting your flower plants and shrubs. ‘Dry shade’ is where water is drawn from the soil and where little rain falls. ‘Damp shade’ is where there is too much moisture and is a super damp patch.

Shrubs for Shady Gardens

When it comes to shrubs, it kind of depends on whether you have dry or damp areas of shade. So once you establish whether the soil in your shady area is too dry or too damp, you can pick from this selection of shrubs!

Shrubs for Dry Shade

Shrubs for Damp Shade

Bulbs for Shady Gardens

Bulbs for Dry Shade

Bulbs for Damp Shade

  • Cardiocrinum (Giant Lily)
  • Eranthis (Winter Aconite)

Climbing Plants for Shady Gardens

For Dry Shade

  • Parthenocissus tricuspidata (Virginia Creeper) 
  • Troki Red Wall
  • Euonymus fortunei (Winter Creeper)
  • Honeysuckle Varieties

For Damp Shade

Perennials for Shady Gardens

Other Flower Plants for Shady Gardens

  • Ageratum
  • Aquilegia
  • Begonia
  • Campanula
  • Canterbury Bell
  • Cyclamen (hardy)
  • Digitalis
  • Doronicum
  • Helenium
  • Helleborus
  • Impatiens
  • Linum
  • Gladiolus
  • Lupinus
  • Meconopsis
  • Mimulus
  • Myosotis
  • Nemophila
  • Pansy
  • Phlox drummondii
  • Polyanthus
  • Primrose
  • Primula ( hardy types)
  • Valerian
  • Violet
  • In the Shade Mix Seeds

Vegetables for Shady Gardens

Various veg can be grown outside in partial shade. The deep shade won’t yield the best results, but there are some varieties that yield better with partial shade rather than full sunlight.

Fruit for Shade

Don’t forget your greens & herbs…

We hope you find some new plants to grow in your garden if you have areas of shade. Be sure to check out the veg for shade too, there are delicious strawberries waiting to be grown!
Whatever you doing on plot, or indoors, make sure to share your gardening activities on our social media pages!

Check out our latest blog posts below!

4 thought on “Top Tips for Shady Gardens: Including Shade-Loving Plants”
    1. Hi Mavis, thank you for your kind comment. We are so pleased you are enjoying our website.
      Best regards,
      The Suttons Team

    1. Hi David, thank you for your kind comment. We are so pleased you have enjoyed our top tips for shady gardens.
      Best regards,
      The Suttons Team

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