15 Best Plants that Grow in the Shade


If you’re trying out new hobbies but aren’t sure exactly what to pick, try gardening. Granted, I know cooking and baking, or riding a unicycle seem very fun…but it’s actually been proven that planting and gardening are therapeutic.  Although everyone isn’t blessed with a green thumb, gardening is definitely a great past time.

And considering the fact that many of the plants I’ve tried to grow have, um, died…..I personally would like to try to grow plants that don’t require a lot of love and care.

Keep in mind, while these plants may need a lot of shade, they may not need it 24/7. So, be very careful with each plant to give it the appropriate amount of shade. Check out the best plants that grow in the shade!

1. Begonias

These plants are as beautiful as winter’s day. It’s sort of like the plant that Jack Frost would like, with its green plants tinged with white. The flowers can vary in color from gorgeous shades of rose, red, orange, white, salmon, or orange.

They thrive and live beautifully in landscapes as well as pots. Some of these types of flowers are Dragon Wing Red and Jurassic Green Streak Rex. The Dragon flowers are a luscious red and bloom all season. The Jurassic flowers are patterned with variations of green and white with a little tinge of pink.

2. Hosta

Personally, the name freaks me out. Like, the plant is going to grow tentacle arms and keep me hostage. But, it’s nothing to worry about, especially since they’re really low maintenance. And I’m pretty sure I have your attention now, don’t I? If only life was low maintenance!

There are variations of hosta plants, and each variation requires a different amount of shade. Keep in mind, the darker the leaf, the less light they need. Some of the varieties you can try are: halcyon and Shadowland Diamond lake. Don’t just buy one plant, because as they say, ” If a plant is sad, do other plants photosympathize with it?”

3. Foam Flower

I feel like the name of the flower alone draws you to it. It’s unique, and very colorful in its appearance. It’s also a gorgeous perennial flower, so sign me up! I’m tired of plants dying in my garden…..although I’m thinking it’s probably my fault.

Oh well. This foam flower could teach me a thing or  two. Rather than covering a lot of surface area, it’s a type of flower that has many individual flowers on the stem, making it look like….well, foam.

4. Lungwort

I swear, just the name sounds like something out of a Harry Potter movie. But I promise it looks much better than it sounds! There’s actually a story behind this strange name. Years ago, people thought that these flowers looked like lungs and tried to eat them.

Unfortunately for them, it didn’t have any actual medicinal value, but the name stuck. Kinda like “The Boy who Lived” even though he eventually died and came back to life. As you can see, I’m going through a serious Harry Potter withdrawal, so this is just a disclaimer for any future references.

5. Caladium

Remember when you watched Dragon Tales and you kept wishing you had shiny jewels that would take you to a magical land? Ah, the time of childhood. Takes me back to the days when I believed in Santa Claus and chocolate being the only nutrition necessary.

This flower definitely gives off the same unique and exotic flair like Dragon Tales. The name itself means angel wings. Can it get any more exotic? Even though they don’t need a lot of sunlight, they need heat in general. Even if they are kept in the shade, but have a sufficient amount of heat, they’ll blossom beautifully.

6.  Hydrangea

One of my personal favorites, hydrangeas are beautiful bunches of flowers that definitely have better qualities than the most overrated flower of all time. ROSES. The flowers can be blue, red, purple or white. Most hydrangea plants prefer normal water and rich soil. Grow various colors so that people are in total awe of your lawn as they walk to your front door.

7. Primrose

If the first thing that came to mind was Hunger games, I volunteer as tribute to tell you that you’re right. Their bright vibes of blue, pink, red, and orange are a sight for sore eyes in spring. Especially after a dreary, long, and slushy white winter! They also work well with other plants like ferns, hosta, iris, and bleeding hearts. The amount of shade they need can vary from partial sun to complete shade. And in a woodland setting, they’ll look perfect to the point of Photoshop.

8. Hellebore

If you’ve caught the green thumb disease, then this plant is definitely your partner in crime. Gardeners seek these plants for various reasons including their cup shape, long bloom time, and attractive foliage. They can tolerate various light conditions, and come in a variety of beautifully subtle colors.

They also prefer rich soil and don’t require much maintenance other than the first step of actually being planted, and are actually pretty tough plants that can tolerate quite a lot. Some of the variants to look for are Stinking hellebore, Corscian hellebore, and Winter Jewels. Honestly, if the names sound this exotic, imagine how beautiful the plants are!

9. Bleeding Heart

Missing your ex? Don’t get drunk and dial them. Plant a bleeding heart. It’s almost a perfect metaphor for your situation, and trust me, you’re better off without them! Bleeding hearts have been a favorite for gardeners for quite a while, and it’s not hard to understand why.

The flowers are an inch long, heart-shaped (obviously), and dangle from arched stems. The flowers can either be white or pink and can tolerate a heavy amount of shade. They look perfect among other perennials and ferns or hydrangeas.

10. Ligularia

This type of name is what used to confuse me in spelling bee competitions. Seriously, why are there so many vowels in one word? That’s not normal. They are also called leopard flowers, and deer hate eating them, so your garden is safe. What makes this plant unique is the spiky shaped leaves and tinge around the sides.

Other variations of leopard flowers have spikier leaves or look similar to daisies. If you’re looking for a plant with a freakishly large leaf structure, and a plant that keeps deer away, you’ve hit the jackpot.

11. Spiderwort

Seriously, what’s with all the plant names ending with “wort?” Change the o to an a, and you have a serious medical condition that causes cringes a mile away. Just from hearing the word. Kind like cooties. Spiderwort plants are part shade plants, so don’t get them confused with deep shade plants.

They have beautiful flowers that grow on the stem, and the plant itself can vary from a foot-and-a-half to two feet tall. If you’re a fan of chartreuse hues, then the variety Sweet Kate is definitely for you. The reason the plants are called spiderworts, are because when the stem is cut a sticky, liquid is released from it which becomes threadlike and sticky, like a spider’s web.

12. Epimedium

I mean, seriously these names cannot get any better in terms of uniqueness. Because of the shape of their flowers, they’re also called fairy wings or bishop’s cap. Plant them where they won’t be stepped on, because they’re sensitive to foot traffic.

Some of the varieties you can try are, Pink Champagne and Lilafee. Keep in mind, that they’re also very delicate and beautiful flowers. So if you’re trying to woo someone and the old “bouquet of flowers” trick isn’t working, then just plant these in your front yard. That’ll definitely do the trick when they come over for date night.

13. Toad Lilly

Personally, this looks like an extremely cool plant that was produced as a hybrid between a leopard and a spotted toad, with a mix of purple. This reason alone should have you running to the store to plant these. They bloom from around mid to late summer, and they’re definitely unique and a flash of color during the hot summers.

They also range from white to lavender, so you’ll have plenty of variety to choose from!

14. Brunnera

This perennial flower is striking because it’s tiny, and looks like it’s emerging from extremely large leaves. Its bright blue is a beautiful pop of color, and its tiny size is perfect as a subtle touch to your blooming garden. If you’re looking for a small flower and not a fashion statement, this is your pick!

15. Christmas Fern

Looking for a plant that looks like the color green just exploded everywhere and had a party? This is it. If you buy one, you can pretty much guarantee that the rest of your garden is going to look like a bunch of ferns are having a garden party. It’s almost like a hostile takeover, kinda like the movie Independence Day.

All in all, you don’t need a green thumb to have a few plants or start a garden. You also don’t need to worry about maintenance, because most of these plants are really easy to manage!