How to - Gardening Resources

10 perennials that flower in the shade

These beautiful blooms are an added bonus to any shade garden.

Master gardener Dan Cooper, my co-author of Gardening from a Hammock, suggests some of his low-maintenance favourites:

Cimicifuga simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’
Also called black snakeroot or black bugbane, ‘Hillside Black Beauty’ has arching spikes of fragrant pale-pink flowers above a clump of lacy purple-black foliage in early fall.

Image courtesy of Phoenix Perennials

Japanese anemones
One of the few shade lovers that bloom in fall is the Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrid ‘Honorine Jobert’) with its tall single white flowers that provide a showy display August through October. These can grow up to 120 centimetres and have the ability to spread if the conditions are right.

Image courtesy of Phoenix Perennials

The foamflower (Tiarella) comes in many varieties and has delicate spikes of fragrant soft-pink or white flowers in the late spring and summer with large deeply cut leaves.

Image courtesy of istock

Giant goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus)
Giant goat’s beard is also one of my favourites. It can grow 120 to 180 centimetres and has a spectacular display of creamy-white plumes June through July.

Image courtesy of voltan1/istock


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