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.

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 (26)

Fire (clivia) lily

I live in zone 9 and have successfully grown clivias for years. They do NOT like extended time in the sun. The leaves WILL burn if left in the sun and will not tolerate freezing, but otherwise easy to grow. I have found that they do best if they spend some time dry and some time cool (not freezing). The one I tried to grow in the house has nice leaves but never blooms. The ones outside bloom every spring. They multiply like crazy. I love sharing them with friends and neighbors.
, 2 March 2017

Zones

Could I use the Fire lily for zone 5/6 in Denver?
25 February 2017


Hoselink Response
Sorry, I would say you wouldn't be recommended to grow the fire lily in zones 5/6. Kind Regards, Monique

Lovely flowers

Very informative article and extremely helpful. I've been looking for plants that would be able to thrive in a shaded area for my porch! The Fire Lily is beautifull!
, 21 December 2016

Lovely flowers

Very informative article and extremely helpful. I've been looking for plants that would be able to thrive in a shaded area for my porch! The Fire Lily is beautifull!
, 21 December 2016


Hoselink Response
Thanks for lovely comment! Glad it could help you!

Alanta

Where can I find one in Atlanta Georgia area
30 November 2016

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