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 (47)

Midwest

Kimmi..I live in South Dakota. I have the Clivia "Fire zlilly" I keep them in pots..set outside in shade in summer..inside in winter. They will bloom when potbound after a winter rest in a cool location. Yes they are beautiful!.
, 21 August 2017

Are Fire Lilies deer resistant?

We have large tree-covered flowerbeds in front of our house where I would like to plant Fire Lilies. My concerns are: 1. That our temperatures are too hot during summer months.. From July through September, our temps range from 85 to 105 degrees in the shade. From what I read on your site, this plant requires cooler temperatures. If so, keeping these plants indoors for cooler temperature may be the better environment for these beautiful plants. 2. Are Fire Lilies deer resistant? If not, our Fire Lilies will need to be kept indoors as houseplants.
, 13 August 2017

Fire Lilly as a Pot Plant, yet it will survive out

While on this site, I was viewing crape myrtles and other flowering trees, shrubs and shade loving plants, when I noticed a flowering plant like one that I've had for more than 10 years! I've had a potted Fire Lilly all these years but never knew the name of this beautiful, hardy plant until today! I've kept the Fire Lilly indoors in a large pot, sitting next to an east window where it receives morning light. The "pot plant" would periodically put on beautiful clusters of orange blooms. Through all these years, the Fire Lilly thrived on water, occasional plant food applications, and morning sun while living as a "pot plant!" Since this plant thrived indoors all these years, it's time to give it more room to grow. Thanks so much to: https://www.hoselink.com.au/blog/shade-lovers/
, 13 August 2017

Fire Lilys

I too like the fire lilies. Have not seen them before. Have lots of shady areas around trees, but live in Kentucky and think it might be too cold for them in winter time. Let my know what you think.
, 31 July 2017

Buy

Where can I buy the fire ones
, 10 July 2017