18 Perennials that Grow in the Shade and Bloom in Summer


Astilbe

By Jennifer Poindexter

If you have a shaded area in your landscape that you’d love to add some color to for the summer, it can feel like an impossible task.

However, there are some flowers that grow in the shade but produce blooms over the warmer months. If you’d like some inspiration, you’re in the right place.

I’m going to share a few plants that may work in this type of setting. I’ll also share their growing conditions and their hardiness zones.

If this information could prove useful to you, then come along with me as we discover perennials for shade that bloom in the summer:

What You’ll Learn:

  • An introduction to perennials, which can be planted once and enjoyed for many years.
  • Detailed descriptions of 18 perennial plants that thrive in shaded areas and bloom during summer, along with their specific growing conditions and hardiness zones.
  • Key factors for successfully growing these plants, including light conditions, soil types, and general care tips.

Perennials for Shade that Bloom in the Summer

Perennial plants are great for your landscape because you can plant them once and enjoy them for many years in the future.

If you’d like to know which perennials to plant in your shaded growing location that should bloom in summer, here are a few ideas:

1. Astilbe

Astilbe is a beautiful mounding flower with lush green foliage and triangular shaped, wispy blooms that produce vibrant colors.

These plants can grow in full sun, but do best in areas with partial shade as they need protection from harsh light. They also need well-draining soil. Expect astilbe to remain hardy in planting zones three through eight.

2. Primrose

Primrose is a lower growing plant with dark foliage and beautiful, small blooms. They have vibrant color patterns that are sure to catch the eye.

When growing primrose, select a location with partial shade and well-draining soil. Even when grown indoors, they need indirect light. Expect primrose to remain hardy in planting zones four through eight.

geraniums in container blooming

3. Geraniums

Geraniums produce bright clusters of blooms that are great for growing in the ground or in containers. Be mindful of the type of geranium you grow as some are considered annuals, but there is a perennial variety as well.

If you choose this plant for your yard or garden, provide an area with partial shade. These plants are traditionally thought to love sun, but they can do well in a location with morning sunlight and afternoon shade. Also, the soil should be well-draining. Perennial geraniums grow best in planting zones three through nine.

4. Jack Frost

Jack Frost is a unique plant with bushy foliage. These leaves have a distinctive pattern on them and from them come dainty blooms.

For these plants to thrive, they need a growing location with well-draining soil and partial shade. If they receive morning sunlight that should be plenty to encourage the plants to thrive. Expect Jack Frost to remain hardy in planting zones three through eight.

bellflower blooming

5. Bellflower

Bellflowers, also known as campanula, grow from a base of green leaves. From the leaves come long stems with blooms that look like bells. They come in a variety of lighter colors but would be a great addition to a shaded location.

Expect these plants to thrive in areas with evenly damp, well-draining soil. Look for woodland varieties for those which perform best in full to partial shade. Bellflowers typically remain hardy in planting zones four through eight.

6. Toad Lily

Toad lilies resemble traditional lilies with the exception that the blooms are speckled, similar to a toad. They come in plenty of vibrant color patterns which is great for brightening up a darker space.

When growing toad lilies, provide a growing location with nutrient-dense soil that’s evenly damp and ample shade. Expect these plants to remain hardy in zones five through nine.

7. Coral Bells

Coral bells produce a mound of rich foliage that comes in various colors. The foliage then produces long stems with dainty blooms at the end.

If you’d like some life in a barren location of your yard, this could be your plant. It prefers a growing location with full sun to complete shade and soil that’s well-draining. However, the plant isn’t particular about soil type. Expect coral bells to do well in planting zones five through nine.

8. Barrenwort

Barrenwort is another mounding plant with beautiful foliage. The foliage produces stems with uniquely shaped blooms at the end.

If you add barrenwort to your landscape, be sure to provide the right growing conditions. This plant needs a location with full shade and well-draining soil that’s rich in nutrients. Barrenwort should remain hardy in planting zones five through eight.

9. Cranesbill

Cranesbill begins with a base of green foliage. From there, the plant produces small, traditional blooms. Yet, their color makes them stand out brightly against the foliage.

If you’re interested in growing this plant, be sure to provide a growing location with partial shade and well-draining soil. Cranesbill remains hardy in planting zones four through nine.

10. Fuchsia

Fuchsia plants are hard to miss due to their unique teardrop blooms and bright colors against a backsplash of deep green foliage.

Should you wish to grow this plant, provide a location with morning sunlight and filtered shade the rest of the day. They also prefer well-draining soil. Expect fuchsia to remain hardy in planting zones seven through ten.

bleeding heart flowers

11. Bleeding Heart

Bleeding heart is a beautiful shrub that I notice anywhere I see it growing. This plant produces arching stems with heart-shaped blooms that dangle from it.

If you’d like a unique plant to grow in your shaded area, this could be a good fit. This plant needs nutrient-dense, well-draining soil and does well in partial shade. Bleeding heart should remain hardy in planting zones three through nine.

12. Solomon’s Seal

Solomon’s seal is another plant with a rich base of foliage that produces arching stems. Small blooms dangle from the stems which creates quite a show in your garden area.

When growing Solomon’s seal, be sure to provide a location with evenly damp, well-draining soil and full shade. This plant remains hardy in planting zones three through nine.

foxglove flowers

13. Foxglove

Foxglove is another colorful plant which grows from a mound of rich, green foliage. Long stems protrude from the foliage and produce bell-shaped blooms which grow vertically up the stem.

These plants grow well in partial shade and soil that’s nutrient-dense, well-draining, and evenly damp. These flowers remain hardy in planting zones four through nine.

14. Cardinal Flower

The cardinal flower is one which certainly demands attention considering it produces rich red blooms that resemble the cardinal bird.

This is a forgiving plant that can grow in anything from full sun to ample shade. Though it isn’t particular about soil type, the cardinal flower needs to grow where it’s evenly damp and well-draining. This plant is hardy in planting zones three through nine.

15. Foamflower

Another option for a perennial plant which grows in shade but blooms in the summer is the foamflower. These plants have a mound of foliage for a base, produce long stems, and have wispy blooms.

They prefer to grow in wooded areas, so by providing an area of shade and nutrient-rich soil that drains adequately, they should have what they need. Foamflower remains hardy in planting zones four through nine.

16. Blue Star

Blue star gets its name because of its blue, star-shaped blooms. These plants are hard to miss due to their coloring and beautiful base of foliage.

When adding this plant to your landscape, select a growing location with morning sunlight and afternoon shade. This plant also needs soil that drains adequately and is rich in nutrients. Expect blue star to remain hardy in planting zones three through nine.

17. Monkshood

Monkshood is another plant with vertical blooms which grow in a layered form and produce beautiful blue flowers.

When growing this plant, select a location with partial shade and soil that’s well-draining. This plant is known for being forgiving and grows well in a variety of soil types. Monkshood remains hardy in planting zones three through eight.

18. Lungwort

Lungwort is another plant that produces a mound of fresh, green foliage with a unique pattern. This plant produces longer stems and has dainty blooms which produce at the very ends.

If you’d like to incorporate this plant into your landscape, select a growing location with partial shade and soil that drains adequately and is rich in nutrients. This plant should remain hardy in planting zones three through nine.

You now have eighteen different options for perennial flowers which grow well in a shaded location but bloom in the summer months.

Pick the option which best suits your planting zone and preferences, then add a beautiful splash of color to a dark area in your landscape.

Key Takeaways:

  • These shade perennials still thrive in different conditions. Many need partial shade, well-draining soil, and protection from harsh light, while others may require nutrient-dense soil, morning sunlight, or even a specific degree of dampness in the soil.
  • Knowing your plant’s hardiness zone can help ensure you choose perennials that are compatible with your local climate and can thrive for years to come.
  • All plants listed provide unique visual appeal with their distinct foliage and bloom shapes and colors, making them excellent options for adding vibrancy to a shaded landscape.

Summer Blooming Shade Perennials Quick Reference Planting Chart

Perennial Light Conditions Soil Conditions Hardiness Zones
Astilbe Partial shade, protection from harsh light Well-draining Zones 3-8
Primrose Partial shade, indirect light Well-draining Zones 4-8
Geraniums Morning sunlight, afternoon shade Well-draining Zones 3-9
Jack Frost Partial shade, morning sunlight Well-draining Zones 3-8
Bellflower (Campanula) Full to partial shade Evenly damp, well-draining Zones 4-8
Toad Lily Ample shade Nutrient-dense, evenly damp Zones 5-9
Coral Bells Full sun to complete shade Well-draining, not particular about soil type Zones 5-9
Barrenwort Full shade Well-draining, rich in nutrients Zones 5-8
Cranesbill Partial shade Well-draining Zones 4-9
Fuchsia Morning sunlight, filtered afternoon shade Well-draining Zones 7-10
Bleeding Heart Partial shade Nutrient-dense, well-draining Zones 3-9
Solomon’s Seal Full shade Evenly damp, well-draining Zones 3-9
Foxglove Partial shade Nutrient-dense, well-draining, evenly damp Zones 4-9
Cardinal Flower Full sun to ample shade Evenly damp, well-draining Zones 3-9
Foamflower Shade, wooded area preferred Nutrient-rich, well-draining Zones 4-9
Blue Star Morning sunlight, afternoon shade Well-draining, rich in nutrients Zones 3-9
Monkshood Partial shade Well-draining, forgiving of soil type Zones 3-8
Lungwort Partial shade Well-draining, rich in nutrients Zones 3-9

Learn More About Growing Perennials

https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/growing-perennials/

https://extension.umd.edu/resource/perennials

https://extension.psu.edu/care-and-maintenance-of-perennials

The post 18 Perennials that Grow in the Shade and Bloom in Summer appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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