Shade-Loving Plants That Will Thrive In Your Garden

The Great British climate is anything but reliable, and many people find their garden sees more shade than sunshine.

While a shaded garden might leave you fewer plant opportunities, it doesn’t mean you can’t add some colour to your outdoor space.

If you’re looking for plants that will thrive in the shade, you’ve come to the right place because this post will reveal some of the best plants for shady gardens.

These plants are perfect for areas that don’t get a lot of sunlight and come in various colours and textures.

So let’s dive in.

What Is A Shaded Garden?

A shaded garden is an outdoor space that doesn’t receive a lot of direct sunlight, which can be due to the location of the property, or because there are trees or buildings nearby that block out the sun.

Many British gardens are of the shady variety, and it’s a common issue homeowners face. Shaded gardens typically have less grass and more plants, as grass needs sunlight to grow.

Another common issue with these gardens is how they deal with water because less light and air circulation mean lower evaporation levels and more fungal problems.

However, you can work with a shaded garden and find the right plants for your needs.

What Are The Best Plants For A Shaded Garden?

While many people believe that shade-loving plants are dull, some beautiful variants will thrive in a shaded garden. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Stinking Iris

Don’t let the name put you off because this beautiful plant offers so much more than its unfortunate label. However, when the flowers are crushed, many report that it smells like beef.

You’ll notice that the plant offers a great deal of colour, including green/purple flowers and bright red/orange seeds during autumn and winter.


There are many different types of bellflowers, but they all share a common trait – their dangling, bell-shaped flowers. These make them ideal for hanging baskets or ground cover, and the flowers are relatively low-maintenance.

One extra benefit is that the flowers attract pollinators such as bees, which means you can add some wildlife to your outdoor space.

Wood Spurge

Another popular plant is Wood Spurge because it’s ideal for shaded gardens and dry conditions. During the spring and summer months, you’ll notice lime green leaves that bring your garden to life and complement the dark green leaves that naturally appear on the plant.

Granny’s Bonnet

If you’re looking for a plant that will add some colour to your garden, granny’s bonnet is a great choice. Its deep blue tones will liven up any outdoor space, and you’ll understand the name when you see this beautiful plant in full bloom.

Ideal for shady gardens and a firm favourite in the UK, this plant is an award winner. Even the Royal Horticultural Society named it a winner of the coveted Garden Merit award.


Foxglove needs no introduction, as it’s one of the most popular plants for shaded gardens. With plenty of varieties to choose between, it’s important to remember that some Foxglove plants require more sun than others.

However, a landscape design company specialising in shade gardens can help you choose which varieties will work for your space.


Snowdrops are one of the first signs that spring is on its way, and these beautiful plants will thrive in shady gardens. They’re also incredibly low-maintenance and another recipient of the Garden Merit award.

While Snowdrop plants are well suited to shaded gardens, they do need dense and moist soil to grow correctly.


Now we come to the cottage garden of choice. Hellebores are perfect for shady gardens, and unlike most flowers, they flourish during the winter months, adding some much-needed colour to your outdoor space.

Hellebore plants come in numerous varieties, including purple, mauve, white and pink flowers that all look incredible. However, you’ll need to find a combination that will work for your garden.

False Goatsbeard

This plant gets its name from the white, fluffy appearance that resembles a goat’s beard. The pale colour is ideal for shady gardens because it will add some visual interest during the colder months.

Coral Bells

Coral bells are another plant type with different varieties available, so you’re sure to find one that will work for your garden.

Some variants will grow in dry soil, while others prefer moist conditions, but any nursery will help you find the perfect variants for your needs.

Things To Consider When Choosing Your Plants

When you’re choosing plants for a shaded garden, it’s essential to consider the following:

Your soil type: Some plants flourish in dry soil, while others need a moister environment. The good thing is that you can nurture your soil to the needs of each plant, but some people prefer to stick with what they’ve got instead.

Your climate: Depending on where you live, some plants will do better than others. If you’re unsure which ones will work for your garden, ask a nursery or landscape designer for help.

The amount of shade in your garden: Some gardens might have shady areas, while others see little sunlight, so it’s the most important thing to consider when choosing shaded plants. Some can handle more sun than others, so it’s essential to find varieties that will work with the amount of light in your garden.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to start picking plants for your shaded garden. With so many beautiful options available, you’re sure to find something that will thrive in your space and meet your style preferences.

Just remember to consider your soil type, climate and how much maintenance you’re willing to perform. If you need any help along the way, please feel free to contact our friendly team of specialists. Unsure about whether you’re a traditional kind of person or love contemporary garden designs? Check out our helpful guide here so that you can plan the perfect outdoor space.

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