Shade Lovers

Shady spots in the garden can be the most difficult places to grow plants, however there are plenty of great shade lovers. We have collected some of our favourite examples.

Emma
7 September 2015

Nearly every garden has a shady spot or two, I’m not talking about the local critters doing dodgy deals in the corner of the flower bed. I’m talking about the darker parts of the garden that get little or no sun. They can be one of the most challenging parts of the garden to grow plants in. Whether it's from the house, a shed, a fence or a large tree the deeper that shade becomes, the more gardeners struggle.
However, as plants are the ultimate niche-fillers in nature, there are plants for every level of shade around the garden. Many of the best shade-tolerant plants can be identified by their lustrous, deep green foliage although not all follow that rule. Here are some fantastic choices for those shady spots:

Mona Lavender (Plectranthus)
Mona Lavender (Plectranthus) is a shade loving plant
  • Grows to about 80cm tall
  • Likes partial shade
  • Happiest in well drained soil
  • Flowers from late summer, through autumn and into early winter
  • Evergreen
Silver Spurflower (Plectranthus Argentatus)
Silver Spurflower (Plectranthus Argentatus) is a shade loving plant
  • Grows up to 100cm Tall
  • Likes partial shade
  • Happiest in moist but well drained soil or well drained soil
  • Flowers in summer
  • Evergreen
  • If kept well trimmed it will remain dense
  • Won't tolerate frost

 

Dead Nettle 'Pink Pewter' (Lamium Maculatum)
Dead Nettle 'Pink Pewter' (Lamium Maculatum) is a shade loving plant
  • Grows up to 10cm tall
  • Likes partial to full shade
  • Happiest in moist but well drained soil or well drained soil
  • Flowers in summer
  • Evergreen
  • Great ground cover
  • Ideally needs to be mass planted for full effect
Lenten Rose (Helleborous Orientalis)
Lenten Rose (Helleborus Orientalis) is a shade loving plant
  • Grows up to 60cm tall
  • Likes full shade
  • Happiest in well drained soil
  • Flowers in winter
  • Evergreen
  • Don't fertilise more than once a year
Sweet Box (Sarcococca Confusa)
Sweet Box (Sarcococca Confusa) is a shade loving plant
  • Grows slowly up to 150cm tall
  • Likes partial to full shade
  • Happiest in well drained soil
  • Flowers in winter to spring
  • Evergreen
  • Sweetly scented
  • Hardy
  • Red, purple or black berries follow the flowers
Lady Gowrie Camellia (Camellia x Williamsii)
Lady Gowrie Camellia (Camellia x Williamsii) is a shade loving plant
  • Grows up to 3m tall with 1.8m spread
  • Likes full shade
  • Happiest in moist well drained soil - will die in standing water
  • Flowers from late winter to mid spring
  • Evergreen
  • Low maintenance
  • Can be planted as a hedge
New Zealand Rock Lily (Arthropodium Cirratum)
 is a shade loving plant
  • Grows up to 100cm tall
  • Likes partial shade
  • Happiest in well drained soil
  • Flowers in early summer
  • Evergreen
  • Ideally needs to be mass planted for full effect
 Winter Daphne (Daphne Odore)
 is a shade loving plant
  • Grows up to 150cm tall
  • Likes partial to full shade
  • Happiest in moist but well drained soil or well drained soil
  • Flowers in late winter to early spring
  • Evergreen
  • Red berries follow the flowers
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea Quercifolia)
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea Quercifolia) is a shade loving Plant
  • Grows up to 150cm tall
  • Likes partial shade
  • Happiest in moist but well drained soil or well drained soil
  • Flowers in summer
  • Can be Deciduous or Evergreen
Fire Lily (Clivia Miniata)
Fire Lily (Clivia Miniata) is a shade loving plant
  • Grows up to 50cm tall
  • Likes partial shade
  • Happiest in well drained soil
  • Flowers in spring through to summer
  • Evergreen
  • Drought tolerant
  • For US Zones see end of article*
Giant Mondo (Ophiopogon Jaburan)
Giant Mondo (Ophiopogon Jaburan) is a shade loving plant.
  • Grows up to 75cm tall
  • Likes partial to full shade
  • Happiest in well drained soil
  • Flowers in summer
  • Evergreen
  • Ideally needs to be mass planted for full effect
  • Blue coloured berries will follow the flowers

 

There's a whole range of beautiful plants to choose from for shady locations that are going to give you contrasting textures, foliage colours, and the flowers are really a bonus. To help you with watering these shade lovers we suggest our handy 30m Retractable hose reel. 

Happy Growing!

 

N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.

*Edit: We have had lots of questions regarding the Fire Lilys suitability in US zones, according to a popular gardening website it is suitable for some zones:

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

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Comments (39)

Fire Lilly's

Hi, I live in the Midwest and I am wondering could I plant these? I hope I can cause these fire Lilly are so beautiful. Thank you
, 11 April 2017


Hoselink Response
Hi There, you should be able to grow Fire Lilies if you live in any of the southern states, I think your climate would be too cold. Cheers, Monique

Shade garden

I have a lot of shade in back garden, also very big pine trees shedding lots of needles.....would fire lily like this kind of environment?
, 9 April 2017


Hoselink Response
Hi There, it depends on your climate really. Any southern American warm states or Mediterranean climates are the best options for the fire lily. The fire lily needs sun and partial share to grow. Hope this helps. Cheers, Monique

Fire Lily

I live in Fitzgerald, Ga would it grow ok here?
, 8 April 2017


Hoselink Response
Hi There, yes you should be able to grow the fire lily in Georgia. Cheers, Monique

Potted

I have one that was my grandmothers, then my mothers, now mine. I can date it back over 40 years old. It likes to dry out completely before watering. It blooms twice a year in the pot. Absolutely beautiful
, 1 April 2017

Mississippi

I've never seen a fire lily. They are beautiful!! If you've ever been to Mississippi in the summer, you know that it's very hot and humid. Will they grow in extreme heat and where could I buy them ? Thanks
, 22 March 2017


Hoselink Response
Hi There, thanks for your comment! I am not sure where you would be able to buy them in your state however if you have a look on google for a nursery near you they should be able to tell you where you can buy them :) Cheers, Monique

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