Growing Flowers in the Shade

by April Reinhardt
(last updated January 16, 2017)

If you walk through a forest or landscape populated densely with trees, notice the wildflowers that grow naturally in the shade. Chances are you will see species that require nearly bog-like conditions to thrive, such as jewelweed, forget-me-not, and cardinal flower. More often, however, you will see flowers that require light shade, adequate moisture, and rich mulch.

You can replicate those conditions in your landscape to create the perfect environment to grow shade-loving flowers. Shade plants usually require less maintenance than their full-sun counterparts since they require less water to grow, and weeds don't grow as fast in shade. One of the best places to grow flowers in the shade is under a large shady tree. Follow these guidelines to grow flowers in the shade:

  • Choose your location. Perhaps you have several large shade trees, or a gardening shed that constantly blocks full sunlight of a patch of lawn. Observe throughout the day the path sunlight takes in your yard, and then identify areas of shade or partial shade to plant your flowers.
  • Choose your plants. Visit your local nursery or home improvement center with a helpful staff that will help you choose the appropriate flowers for shade. Some of the best flowers to grow in shade are azaleas, lilies, flowering vines, columbine, caladium, acanthus, and hostas.
  • Plant your flowers. Once you've purchased the correct flowers for the amount of shade in your landscape, prepare the ground for the potted plants. Dig the hole twice as wide as the plant, and the same height as the plant. Carefully remove the plant from the pot, taking care not to tear delicate roots. If the roots are hair-like and entangled, tease them outward to encourage root growth outward, instead of growing into a ball. Place the plant into the hole, and then replace the dug out dirt, tamping it down firmly to discourage air pockets.
  • Mulch and fertilize the flowers. Use quality potting soil mixed with rich mulch, and then fertilize the flowers thickly around the base of the stem.
  • Water the flowers well, but do not over saturate.

A frugal gardener will choose flowers that come back each year, but sometimes it is difficult to find perennials that thrive in shade. Some shade-loving perennials are foam flowers, geraniums, primrose, and astilbe. A very hardy flower that not only returns each year and grows in shade, but also produces large, vibrant blooms is the hydrangea. Hydrangeas come in a variety of colors and some species grow to great heights and can form a hedge or wind break.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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