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Shade-Loving Plants for Your Outdoor Garden
Shade-Loving Plants for Your Outdoor Garden

People often lament that they can't grow a garden because their yards are too shady. However, some of the most beautiful plants imaginable can thrive even without bright sunlight. As you fill your garden with color, they can become a wonderful place to relax and enjoy your yard throughout the year.

01

Bleeding heart

Bleeding heart flowers in vase Maya23K / Getty Images

When it comes to accurate names, the bleeding heart plant immediately springs to mind. This plant's unique flowers resemble gentle, dripping hearts. Depending on the variety of plant, the blooms can be any color from gentle pink to crisp white. Despite their incredible beauty, caring for bleeding hearts is fairly simple. Plant them in a cool, shady area and keep the soil moist. Don't worry about removing the foliage until after it turns yellow or brown.

02

Caladium

caladium plants pots garden Joe_Potato / Getty Images

Some plants don't need blooming flowers to be beautiful. Caladiums are small plants with vibrant, arrow-shaped foliage. Their leaves have some of the most interesting patterns you'll find on any plant. Most varieties of caladium need lots of shade because direct sunlight can scorch their leaves. Make sure to plant several caladium plants together; otherwise, your garden might look a little sparse. You should plant at least three, but five to seven gives a bolder look if you have space.

03

Astilbe

Astilba in the park. ANGHI / Getty Images

If your garden is lacking a statement piece, look no further than the feathery flowers of the astilbe plant. Because the foliage and blooms are delicate, they require plenty of shade and moisture to avoid sun damage. Try combining different varieties of astilbe flowers to create a canvas of textures and colors. Most species have green and gold foliage, but newer varieties have a wonderfully rich chocolate color.

04

Coral bells

heuchera coral bells flowers Mkovalevskaya / Getty Images

People who have a bit of trouble maintaining a garden but still love the fun and vibrancy that plants bring should consider planting some coral bells. Once you establish them, coral bells require very little maintenance beyond following a watering schedule. As they grow, you'll love their tall, bell-like blooms in colors ranging from a spotless white to an intense red. Coral bells also make great partners and accent plants for other perennials in your garden.

05

Foxglove

home garden in fromt of patio porch.. shallow depth of field cjmckendry / Getty Images

There are many ways to add some visual appeal to your garden, including using levels. Rather than only incorporating plants that are low to the ground, try planting some taller options like foxgloves. These gorgeous plants can reach six feet in height and some incredible patterns on their bell-like blooms. Some species thrive in full sun, but many of the perennial options prefer at least partial shade.

06

Lady's mantle

Lady's Mantle, Alchemilla xanthochlora, is a beautiful ground cover with green flowers.

Overpowering a garden with tons of color is surprisingly easy. It's a trap that experienced, and beginner gardeners alike fall into. After all, who doesn't want a vibrant garden? But sometimes the accent plants are as important as the centerpieces. Lady's mantle adds tons of charm without overdoing it. Their fuzzy leaves capture droplets of water and can even shine like jewels in the right light. Use it as ground cover or as an edging plant. Lady's mantle plants don't typically require any special maintenance, so they're an easy addition to any garden.

07

Coleus

Multi-colored coleus and begonias in a window box Jennifer Yakey-Ault / Getty Images

Colors aren't the only important part when discussing what makes a plant appealing. Foliage shapes and patterns are just as integral. Most coleus varieties are shade-loving plants with dynamically-shaped leaves, like fringes, scallops, or teeth. Like many other plants that thrive in the shade, this plant is remarkably easy to care for. They're so easy to grow that you'll probably have to perform regular maintenance to ensure they don't dominate your yard.

08

Lobelia

white blue lobelia pot JuditaJurkenaite / Getty Images

Living in an incredibly wet area can make gardening difficult since many plants are easy to overwater. Lobelias are not only colorful options for any garden but can also thrive in even the wettest environments. If you live in a dry area, you can still include lobelias, but they need a lot more shade. Beyond being beautiful, lobelias also have one more unique characteristic. Their dynamic spike-like flowers are magnets for hummingbirds, which adds even more charm to the area.

09

Deadnettle

Purple deadnettle on wood, Tuned_In / Getty Images

One of the worst parts of gardening is realizing that you have empty gaps that make the whole area feel incomplete. Deadnettle is an excellent plant for filling out any garden, largely because it can grow almost two feet along the ground. This plant can also survive in a variety of soil types, making it an easy inclusion. As it blooms, deadnettle's small tubular flowers can bring elegance and color to your shade garden.

10

Impatiens

Touch-me-not flowers W_photography / Getty Images

When it comes to shade gardens, there is no flower as iconic as the impatien. These tropical plants are bursting with color and can fill an entire garden with their beauty. Plus, their flowers can last for an entire season with little to no effort on your part. Usually, impatiens come in pastel colors, but you can find many warm varieties, as well. It's important to remember that frost is devastating to these elegant plants, so be careful as winter nears.

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